The Government Relations Department at Orlando Health serves to advance the organization’s public policy agenda by monitoring healthcare legislation and strengthening relationships with local, state and federal elected officials and agencies.
Healthcare is a dynamic industry which is seeing many changes at the state and federal levels of government. On June 29, 2012, the healthcare industry landscape made a historical change as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with being upheld, states were given flexibility in deciding whether to allow for the expansion of the Medicaid program. Under the ACA, people under the age of 65 would generally qualify for Medicaid if their income was less than or equal to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. During Florida’s 2013 state legislative session, the legislature did not pass any type of coverage expansion program for the working poor. This is an additional burden to the reimbursement challenges faced by the hospital industry over the past few years.
Since 2009, the security of Medicaid funding and the programs it supports have been vulnerable at the state level. Medicaid funding takes up about 43 percent of the state’s Health and Human Services budget with the majority of funding going to provide services to Medicaid recipients. Needless to say, when members of the legislature are looking to balance the budget, Medicaid reimbursement rate cuts are always considered. Although reductions in reimbursement levels are an ongoing challenge for the hospital industry, there are many other policy issues the Government Relations team is monitoring in the 2014 state legislative session. Protecting the stability of Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Level One Trauma Center and the Florida trauma system and monitoring the implementation of Medicaid managed care, which moves the entire Medicaid population into a managed care model, are only a few of those issues.