April 10, 1998

VUMC to receive additional $4 million for TennCare

VUMC to receive additional $4 million for TennCare

Vanderbilt University Medical Center will receive $4.1 million from the state of Tennessee to help offset the cost of treating TennCare and charity care patients.

The payment is part of $60 million that Gov. Don Sundquist will provide to 58 hospitals across the state that treat the majority of Tennessee's TennCare and charity care patients. VUMC and 10 other hospitals will receive nearly $43 million, the bulk of the disbursement.

"We are grateful to the Governor for this decision, which is an important first step in recognizing the growing costs of TennCare and charity care to institutions like Vanderbilt University Medical Center," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

"Vanderbilt is the largest inpatient TennCare provider in Tennessee. I want to especially thank the leadership of the Tennessee General Assembly and the Davidson County Delegation, and make special note of Sen. Doug Henry, whose time and commitment is most appreciated.

"This recognizes the disproportionate burden placed on essential service hospitals for TennCare and charity care, and the key role these institutions play in the success of TennCare. We need to, and will continue to, work on Vanderbilt receiving significantly more funding ‹ in keeping with our lead role as a TennCare provider," Jacobson said.

In fiscal year 1997, VUMC provided more than $58 million in care to TennCare but was reimbursed for only $36 million of that care. Losses of $22 million are the result of poor reimbursement for essential services like trauma care and intensive care for newborns.

The funds released by the state come from a $100 million special reserve account set aside by the federal Health Care Financing Administration as a one-time settlement for Tennessee's "essential access hospitals," those that provide a disproportionate share of TennCare and Charity care service.

According to Betty C. Nixon, special assistant, University Relations and General Counsel, the $4.1 million payment is an important beginning in the quest to resolve the problems faced by Vanderbilt and other essential service hospitals.

"VUMC will do everything within its power to continue to respond to the needs of TennCare and charity care patients and to work with members of the General Assembly and the state administration to continuously strengthen and improve TennCare," Nixon said.