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Subsidizing hospital expansion with taxpayer “Private Option” money

6336510146_e76da8e697_bScare tactics are being used by Arkansas supporters of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (currently called “Private Option”). They claim Arkansas taxpayers must fund big government Medicaid Expansion program in order to “save” hospitals. To them it is all about the cost of “uncompensated care” which includes about anything a hospital wants to claim. (More about uncompensated care claims in a future article.)

A reader wrote to CFA saying:

While going to my doctor’s office, I drove past [name omitted] Hospital, and noticed a lot of new construction. I was curious what was being done so I search for articles on my smart phone while sitting in my doctor’s waiting room. It is amazing how many hospitals are being built or expanded. If hospitals are on the brink of closure and need taxpayers to pay for Obamacare Private Option, how are they able to do so much construction while small business owners are struggling to survive President Obama’s terrible economy?

Expansion, especially over- expansion, effects a hospital’s bottom line. Empty beds and underutilized facilities add to operating costs. Construction financed with debt also affects the bottom line.

We want hospitals to do well, but as taxpayers we think the reader has a good question. How is hospital construction affecting hospital balance sheets and the hospitals’ “need” for Arkansas taxpayer money?

We also thank the reader for providing example articles spotlighting hospital construction and expansion in Arkansas. You probably are aware of other hospital expansion projects.

CAUTION_construction_Area_Authorized_Personnel_OnlyThe company Construction Market Database (CMD) claims its database includes “hospital projects that have been built over the past five years in Arkansas.”  The database appears to have major gaps (for example, few of the projects listed by our reader are included on the CMD list), but we include the list for your information. Also note: Some projects on the CMD list are for the construction of clinics, offices, dormitories, etc. and the list includes government hospitals and clinics.

Construction Market Database – Arkansas Hospital Construction Amount Building Category
VA MEDICAL CLINIC – AR $58 million hospitals
MERCY HEALTH HOSPITAL BP 5 – Rogers, AR S50 million hospitals
MERCY HEALTH HOSPITAL BP 6 – Rogers, AR S50 million hospitals
MERCY HEALTH HOSPITAL – Rogers, AR $40 million hospitals, medical offices
ST VINCENT EMERGENCY CENTER – Little Rock, AR $40 million hospitals
MAGNOLIA HOSPITAL PHASE I – AR $30 million hospitals
ARKANSAS STATE HOSPITAL – Little Rock, AR $20.5 million hospitals
NEW HORIZON MEDICAL CENTER – Harrison, AR $20 million clinics, hospitals
SPARKS REGIONAL MEDICAL CTR FOUNDATIONS – Fort Smith, AR $15 million hospitals
BOONEVILLE COMMUNITY HOSPITAL – Booneville, AR $11.6 million hospitals
DELTA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL – Dumas, AR $11 million hospitals
WHITE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER – Searcy, AR $10 million hospitals
ARKANSAS SURGICAL HOSPITAL PH II – North Little Rock, AR $9 million clinics, hospitals
BAPTIST HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER – Heber Springs, AR $8.5 million hospitals
CENTERS FOR YOUTH & FAMILIES – AR $5 million hospitals
HOSPICE HOME CARE INPATIENT FACILITY – Little Rock, AR $5 million hospitals
ACUTE CARE REHAB HOSPITAL – Conway, AR $4.6 million hospitals
CHENAL NURSING & REHAB CENTER – SITEWORK – Little Rock, AR $3.5 million hospitals
CHENAL NURSING & REHAB CENTER – STRUCT – Little Rock, AR $3.5 million hospitals, nursing homes
WRMC SENIOR CENTER – Fayetteville, AR $2.5 million clinics, hospitals
BELLA ROSA CENTER – AR $1.75 million hospitals
SEARCY MEDICAL CENTER WEST CLINIC – Searcy, AR $1.35 million clinics, hospitals
HUNTSVILLE MEDICAL CLINIC – Huntsville, AR $1.32 million clinics, hospitals
MID-SOUTH HEALTH SYSTEMS FACILITY – Paragould, AR S1.18 million hospitals
REBSAMEN MEDICAL CLINIC – Cabot, AR $1.1 million clinics, hospitals
MARSHALL MEDICAL CLINIC – Marshall, AR $1.09 million clinics, hospitals
SOUTH CENTRAL GI CLINIC – AR $951,000 hospitals
SCENIC SEVEN DOCTORS CLINIC – Ola, AR $750,000 clinics, hospitals
BOONEVILLE MEDICAL CLINIC – Booneville, AR $700,000 clinics, hospitals
BAPTIST HEALTH GENERATOR HOUSING – Little Rock, AR $600,000 hospitals
DAVITA DIALYSIS FACILITY – AR $600,000 hospitals
SHARP COUNTY HEALTH UNIT – Ash Flat, AR $518,942 clinics, hospitals
DALLAS COUNTY HEALTH UNIT – Fordyce, AR $495,000 hospitals
ARVAC FREEDOM HOUSE DORMITORY – Russellville, AR $350,000 special schools, dormitories, clinics, hospitals
CENTRAL ARKANSAS VETERANS HEALTHCARE SYS – North Little Rock, AR $50,000 hospitals
KIDS FIRST CLINIC – Warren, AR Not available clinics, hospitals
SALINE MEMORIAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT – Saline, AR Not available clinics, hospitals
SLEEP DISORDER CENTER – Little Rock, AR Not available hospitals
WHITE RIVER DIAGNOSTIC CENTER – Batesville, AR Not available clinics, hospitals
WRMC ADMIN SERVICE BUILDING – Fayetteville, AR Not available clinics,hospitals, medical offices

Some politicians say, “Arkansas needs Obamacare Medicaid Expansion to ‘save’ Arkansas hospitals.” It is time for the politicians to tell us which hospitals are supposedly being saved and to account for all the factors contributing to hospitals financial health. If the politicians can’t, they need to quit using hospitals as a scare tactic to pass their big government program. 

Also see the CFA article: “Is it about SAVING hospitals?

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