On February 7, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf addressed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate to outline his budget proposal for the 2017–2018 fiscal year. Beginning the week of February 20, the legislature will begin appropriation committee hearings with state agencies to vet the Governor’s budget proposal and to develop their own budget proposals.
Specific to Pennsylvania hospitals, the proposed 2017–2018 budget maintains funding levels for hospital payments, including the Medical Assistance Supplemental payments for critical access hospitals, obstetrics/neonatal units, hospital burn centers, and trauma centers. The budget also includes general fund savings from the consolidation of four agencies into a new Department of Health and Human Services: Department of Human Service, Department of Health, Department of Aging, and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Finally, the budget includes $25 million of federal funding for the Rural Health Global Budget initiative.
The Governor continues to focus on the opioid crisis and allocates $39.9 million in new state and federal funding.
Generally, Governor Wolf proposed a $32.3 billion budget with $2.1 billion identified cost savings in addition to $1 billion in new taxes.
Policymakers will immediately face major policy decisions. Potential changes in the ACA still create a high level of uncertainty for states and stakeholders around funding and payment structures throughout the continuum of care.
However, operating within the confines of the state budget and looking forward to the 2017–2018 fiscal year budget negotiations, HAP will continue to build on the strong legislative support that hospitals received in 2016–2017 budget. HAP is asking state policy makers to maintain current year funding levels proposed in the Governor’s 2017–2018 budget for all hospital payments, including Medical Assistance supplemental funding for obstetric and neonatal services, hospital-based burn centers, and trauma centers and necessary funding for critical access hospitals.