Central Health authorizes creation of fund designed to boost federal dollars for uncompensated care

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Following recently signed legislation that authorized Central Health to expand its operating powers, the health care district moved to formally create a pooled fund that will increase the amount of matched federal funds the county and private hospitals receive for uncompensated health care services.

The board of managers on June 19 officially established Travis County’s Local Provider Participation Fund, or LPPF, to get ahead of looming state deadlines.

LPPFs allow private hospitals to access matched federal funds for uncompensated health care costs incurred while providing services to uninsured patients.

Private hospitals in Travis County would pay an established rate of their net patient revenue and pool it into the LPPF fund. Those pooled funds would then be combined or matched with federal dollars, which would then be redistributed by state and federal government to county hospitals, according to Central Health.

According to Central Health documents, the district was granted authority to “assess a mandatory payment to hospitals required to participate in the LPPF” when Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1350 into law May 31.

Jeff Knodel, chief financial officer of Central Health, told managers June 19 that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission notified all participating counties that affiliation agreements must be in place by July 15.

“HHSC notified us that the [LPPF] program needed to exist to meet the affiliation agreement,” Knodel said.

According to Knodel, Central Health will need to further establish mandatory rates for the county’s private hospitals by July 31. Further, Central Health will need to designate a depository bank to hold the pooled hospital funds at that time.

“We are working in real time related to … creating the rates related to the LPPF,” Knodel said.

Central Health documents show the county would send collected funds to be matched as early as Sept. 5 to receive FY 2019 uncompensated care payments.

The district’s timelines additionally show a public hearing and vote scheduled for Aug. 28 to set Travis County’s LPPF rates for FY 2019-20.

The Williamson County Health Care Provider Participation Program, established by the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017, began collecting hospital funds in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Williamson County commissioners on April 30 set the rate for the Williamson County Health Care Provider Participation Program at 1.59% of net patient revenue.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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