March 11, 2013, Brooklyn, NY…There
is a high probability that the Lutheran HealthCare (LHC) system will
see at least $2,935,000 in reductions -- cuts to jobs and community
health services -- as a result of sequestration.
The Lutheran Family Health Centers ambulatory network is extremely
vulnerable to sequestration. "If a compromise is not found on Capitol
Hill we'll see unfortunate consequences at Lutheran Family Health
Centers," said Larry K. McReynolds, LFHC executive director. "We are
estimating that sequestration could hit our network with at least
$735,000 in federal cuts."
Lutheran's community health centers are in the process of estimating
the full impact to jobs and health services. Based on federal estimates
the network could be cut $471,227 for the FQHC 330 grant alone this
year. The FQHC grant helps Lutheran provide care and basic services to
its underserved community. Since LFHC is funded through May, the health
centers are forced to absorb the entire cut over a shorter period of
time remaining in the year. The network's remaining federal grants are
expected to be reduced another $172,000 along with a $92,000 loss to its
Medicare payments. Of particular interest are cuts in the network's CDC
grant for at-risk HIV populations and Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration grants.
Compounding Lutheran's issues are potential cuts (estimates are as
high as 10 percent or another $625,000) to N.Y.'s block grants that
support thousands of families through services like prenatal care,
infant mortality prevention, oral health care and school-based health
(of which Lutheran operates one of the largest in New York with
school-based centers in 32 schools), child vaccinations, cancer
screenings, substance abuse treatment and more.
Lutheran Medical Center (the LHC system's 130-year-old hub), which
has already absorbed over $40 million in reductions from Medicaid and
Medicare, since 2009, is now facing an additional minimum of $2 million
in cuts from Medicare. And the Lutheran Augustana Center of Extended
Care and Rehabilitation, another key arm to the LHC system, will be cut
"It is impossible to comprehend how safety-net hospitals and health
systems can continue to absorb these levels of reductions without
impacting upon the patients and the beneficiaries," said Claudia Caine,
hospital director. "We must continue to educate our elected officials
that cuts of this type will unfairly impact an already suffering
safety-net in Brooklyn. These cuts unfairly penalize those that are
operating viable high quality institutions that our community absolutely
depends on for jobs and comprehensive care."