NY Seeks Medicaid Funds for State's Sandy-affected Healthcare Providers

State health officials are asking the federal government for almost a half-billion dollars worth of special Medicaid funding for hospitals, nursing homes and clinics affected by Sandy.

Much of the money is to repair damaged buildings and equipment . But much of it is also intended to compensate places that either have closed and lost patients, or stayed open and received evacuees.

“Providers’ lost revenues … are of paramount concern for the Medicaid program,” wrote New York Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson, in a letter to U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Many of the facilities receiving displaced patients are in dire fiscal situations today, and taking on additional patients is destabilizing their fragile financial conditions.”

The $427 million application is for up to three weeks of special funding. Close to $200 million of that would be for hospitals, with the rest going to nursing homes, clinics, housing for the mentally ill and disabled, substance abuse centers and medical transportation companies.

Helgerson said an additional request for longer-term funding would be coming soon.

State officials estimate more than 5,000 patients were displaced by Sandy, and they say healthcare facilities have experienced more than a billion dollars worth of physical damage and lost income.