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Hospitals Detail Service Cuts in Court

A coalition of hospitals in the state testified in federal court today/Tuesday that state budget cuts have forced them to restrict care for the poor.

Ten hospitals are suing the state over a $130 million reduction in Medicaid funding.

Hospital officials described the series of reductions they’ve had to make in response to state cuts dating back to 2008.

For example, Lakes Region General Hospital and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center now are turning away new Medicaid patients unless they are children, seniors or pregnant women.

LRGH’s Henry Lipman says his hospital is also planning to reduce services for the uninsured beginning in March.

“We’re in mourning because we have considered ourselves one of the leaders in creating access in this state and to have to step back from things we have been working on building for close to 30 years is really disheartening and demoralizing.”

The hospitals argue the state violated federal law because Health and Human Services failed to assess how these cuts would affect low-income citizens.

The state maintains that the healthcare providers can afford to absorb the cuts, but instead continue to pour money into capital projects and competition with each other.