NH News
6:10 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

AG Wants Hospital Suit Thrown Out

Tomorrow, the Attorney General will argue that a federal judge should throw out a lawsuit filed by 10 hospitals suing the state.

The state is arguing hospitals don’t have legal standing to challenge how much New Hampshire pays medical providers.

In 2008, the state began lowering how much it pays doctors and hospitals to treat low-income Medicaid patients.

The move was made to help shore up state finances during the Recession.

But Scott O’Connell, an attorney representing the hospitals says the state skipped a step.

He says federal law is clear: the state must first consider whether lower rates will limit patients’ abilities to get treatment.

“What the state has done is passed a law that says they can change the reimbursement structure without thinking about the federal requirement, just to balance the budget.”

The state argues hospitals don’t have any standing to make this claim.

Noting lavish executive salaries and high-priced expansion projects, the state says hospitals have the money to continue providing service to the poor.