Mayor Ford says Bredesen Reneges on Med Money

Or at least the amount of it, per Rick Locker at the CA:

The Bredesen administration thought it was doing good for the Regional Medical Center by asking lawmakers to give it $20 million if that much new federal money for The Med isn't approved.

So it raised eyebrows when interim County Mayor Joe Ford essentially accused the governor of reneging on what Ford said was a commitment for an extra $5 million to $20 million for improvements at the hospital.

Administration officials and others insist that no such commitment was made.

This took place at the weekly delegation meeting where John Morgan of the Governor’s office was there to explain Bredesen’s final budget amendment, which had been given to the General Assembly on Wednesday:

It asks the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to approve federal matching dollars, on the same $2-to-$1 basis as TennCare, for Shelby County’s additional $10 million subsidy for the hospital plus another $2 million from the city. If that fails, the amendment contains a direct $20 million state subsidy to The Med.

Ford told Morgan he believes the state committed to more.

Morgan responded: “Let me be real clear: the conversations we had were around matching those dollars. Maybe we misunderstood what you were asking for, but the conversation was about, first, making sure the hospital tax passed — that was essential. Second, trying to get those dollars matched, and in the event those dollars were not matched, that we put the money up.”

The hospital tax is a 3.5 percent fee the Tennessee Hospital Association voluntarily proposed to offset large-scale cuts to TennCare that would have reduced the program’s reimbursements to The Med by $54 million, which the hospital said would have forced its closure.


There seems to be differing views regarding this money between Mayor Ford and legislators as well:

Ford told The Commercial Appeal after Wednesday’s meeting he believed from the start the federal money would come and that local officials asked the state for $5-20 million in new state money for capital improvements.

Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, said Thursday he was never informed of any money beyond the $20 million contingency if the federal funds don’t come.

Hat Tip to JR.

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