|EDINBURG, March 27 - Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia has responded to criticism of South Texas hospitals from the Texas Conference of Urban Counties over healthcare funding for the indigent poor.
Don Lee, executive director of the TCUC, had written to Gov. Rick Perry and others expressing concern about counties being forced to send money to the state under terms dictated by private hospitals. He sent a copy to Garcia.
Hidalgo County is a member of the TCUC. The County wants to work with local hospitals to leverage more federal Medicaid dollars under the 1115 Waiver. On Tuesday, the Guardian posted Lee’s letter. Today, we post Garcia’s reply, which was sent to Lee and CC’d to Eduardo Olivarez, Hidalgo County’s chief administrative officer for health and human services.
March 5, 2013
Mr. Donald Lee
Texas Conference of Urban Counties
500 West 13th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
Please accept this correspondence as response to your recent letter dated Feb. 18, 2013, discussing the ‘Disproportionate Share Hospital Program (DSH)’ in our State; Hidalgo County is a member of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties and is facing a similar issue to many of our State’s Counties in regards to funding the indigent healthcare needs of our community. The 1115 Waiver Projects, once approved, will provide improved access to healthcare and expanding medical prevention, intervention, and treatment programs in our region.
However, the concern for Hidalgo County and similar Counties, which do not have the public medical infrastructure or Hospital Districts, would be the impact of redistribution or the reformulating of the State’s DSH funds. In the event of such action taking place, the allotted amount for our private hospital partners in our County may significantly decrease, and in turn negatively impact the access to the uninsured or under-insured residents of our County.
Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court is inquiring into the potential effect that such redistribution may have to our County and its residents, and the economic impact to our hospitals. Your assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated. Please keep our County informed on the action being taken in regards to these potential changes.
Hidalgo County Judge