Lee County Impact
10:43 pm
Sun February 5, 2012

Kearns Talks Hospital, Prison Funding

A proposal in Des Moines could result in more money for Keokuk Area Hospital.

Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) has filed legislation asking the Iowa Department of Human Services to recalculate one of its hospital funding formulas.

He says the state makes money available to hospitals that do not receive adequate reimbursement for care of low income patients.

Kearns says that state funding can be used to leverage even more federal money.

“So what I am asking is to increase that considerably,” says Kearns, “I think the hospital currently gets about $66,000 from (the fund) each year.  If we would increase that, we would get much, much more.”

Kearns says he did not want to put a cap on the amount of money put into the fund, so he did not include a dollar figure in the legislation.

Only a handful of hospitals in Iowa qualify for the disproportionate funding.

Keokuk Area Hospital is also seeking a critical access hospital designation from the federal government.

Kearns says the legislation should be discussed in committee early next week.

 

PRISON

The Iowa Senate agreed to add $8.5-million to the Department of Corrections current budget to maintain prison staffing levels.

Kearns does not know if his colleagues will go along with that amount.

“It would be my guess that the House would not be in line with the Senate,” says Kearns.  “We might get close to Governor Terry Branstad’s recommendation (of $6.5-million).

Kearns says without the additional money, massive layoffs could be needed.

He does not expect the funding to result in the hiring of new correctional officers.