Governor Rick Scott has selected nine people to serve on his hospital funding commission. The formation of the groups as all or part of a major federal healthcare funding program expires next month.
One of the appointees is former Gadsden county commissioner Eugene Lamb. He's currently serving on Tallahassee Community College’s Board of Trustees. Lamb says he never applied to serve on Scott’s commission but got a call from the Governor's office saying his name had, "come up".
"They asked me if I had an interest in serving, and anytime I can serve to help the citizens of the state of Florida, I don’t hesitate," Lamb said.
Lamb says he wants to know more about how hospitals are funded and is looking forward to a discussion on redistributing profits to smaller, rural hospitals. Gov. Scott has raised the idea that hospitals share profits to offset a potential loss of a federal program that reimburses hospitals for uncompensated care. The issue is at the center of a legislative budget standoff.
A complete loss of the low-income pool could turn into a billion dollar hole in Florida’s budget, and the House and Senate are at odds over what, if anything to do about it. Some hospitals say they could close if the money goes away and there’s nothing to replace it, and their lobbyists are backing the Senate’s plan to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act, as a solution—the House and Governor are opposed.
Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding will look at profits, and expenses, executive and lobbyist pay, charity care, and health outcomes. Scott has recommended hospitals share their profits to offset any potential losses should LIP be eliminated.
Several lawmakers volunteered or requested to serve on the review commission, but none were selected. The group includes several business owners and members of college and university boards of trustees, as well as a member of the Florida Board of Medicine. The legislature reconvenes June first to hash out a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.