Stephens Co. Hospital Supports Bed Tax

As the proposed extension of the so-called hospital bed tax continues to make its way through the Georgia General Assembly, hospitals are making their thoughts known.

The Georgia Senate passed a bill earlier this month that would allow the tax to be extended by allowing the state’s Department of Community Health to levy the fee against hospitals.

According to Stephens County Hospital Administrator Ed Gambrell, hospitals pay the fee to the state, which the state then turns around and uses to draw down more federal dollars for Medicaid, which in turn the state uses to reimburse hospitals as part of Medicaid.

Supporters said that Georgia’s hospital industry supports the plan and Gambrell says Stephens County Hospital is a supporter of continuing the so-called “bed tax.”

“We support the bed tax and we have encouraged our local legislators to support it,” said Gambrell. “It is a good thing and it certainly helps hospitals to stay afloat during this time.”

Some have come out against the so-called “bed tax,” saying that it would raise health care costs, raise federal debt, and kill jobs, or questioning whether there was another way to fund the money needed rather than this fee.

Gambrell said that eliminating the fee altogether and thereby losing the additional federal dollars would harm a number of hospitals, some more than others.

“It would hurt us, but it would not devastate us,” said Gambrell. “But it would devastate Grady, Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, those that have a really high Medicaid utilization.”

The Georgia House must still take up the Senate bill on the issue before it heads to the Governor’s desk.