Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Monday, January 22

HHS Earmarks Funds for Katrina Recovery

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt, HHS is making available $175 million in grant funds to help hospitals and healthcare providers that are suffering economic pressure as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

These funds are being made available to the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi for acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that face financial pressures as a result of changing wage rates that have not yet been reflected or adjusted for in Medicare payment methodologies.

Since Hurricane Katrina, providers in the Gulf Coast have experienced difficulty hiring and retaining staff," Leavitt said. "Changing wage rates have impacted healthcare providers' ability to attract potential workers. These grants will help hospitals and skilled nursing facilities respond to that pressure, and strengthen access to healthcare services in the Gulf Coast region."
Of the total amount, $160 million is available to acute care hospitals and SNFs in the three states. Based on each eligible hospital and SNF's share of total Medicare payments under a prospective payment system for inpatient care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will allocate 45%, or $71.6 million, for Louisiana facilities; 38%, or $60.5 million, for Mississippi facilities; and, 17%, or $27.8 million for Alabama facilities. Funding is available to hospitals and SNFs in counties or parishes designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive both individual and public assistance. As part of the grant process, the three states must submit applications to CMS.

In addition, Leavitt established a $15-million grant for the State of Louisiana to use for the greater New Orleans area to help the region attract doctors and other healthcare providers. According to the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative, approximately 50% of the physicians who worked in the region before Katrina are no longer practicing there, leaving a shortage of doctors.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 provided funding for the restoration of healthcare in Hurricane Katrina impacted communities.


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