Since Day 1 of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., or since Oct. 1, 2011, the CNMI government has not paid its local Medicaid match to CHCC, according to CHCC chief financial officer Derek Sasamoto.
For the next fiscal year, Sasamoto said that uncompensated care is projected to cost the corporation $15.5 million, while CNMI Medicaid share, which is a 45-percent share, is $14.6 million,” Sasamoto said in his report at the board of trustees Wednesday night.
CHCC director William Cing, in a conference call, said CHCC should do all it can to retrieve uncompensated care and the local share of Medicaid cost for its upcoming budget.
“I think that’s exactly the point we have to drive in for this 2019 budget hearing again. If you subtract all those bad debts and uncompensated care, Medicaid payment, we are down to $43 million and we don’t have a balanced budget,” he said.
CHCC legal counsel Nancy Gottfried noted that because of the unbalanced budget brought about by the government not paying its local Medicaid share and not funding uncompensated care, the board of trustees should really make an effort to attend the next budget hearing and show its support for CHCC management.
CHCC director David Rosario also updated the board that he has yet to get a response from Rep. Jose Itibus (R-Saipan) on the uncompensated care issue as the lawmaker is currently off-island.
According to CHCC records, the Commonwealth Health Center incurred nearly $14 million in uncompensated care for uninsured patients in fiscal year 2016 alone, and every year absorbs millions more in Medicaid services that are not reimbursed by the local government.
In the FY 2018 budget, CHCC requested $16 million to pay for indigent care, but the Legislature provided just $825,000.