Tennessee's “Big 4 Chambers” Support Hospital Coverage Fee

Release date: 3/18/2010

THA-proposed hospital coverage fee will restore millions in cuts to the TennCare program.

Memphis, TN – Due to the current fiscal crisis that the state is facing, the cuts proposed for TennCare in the state budget starting July 1, 2010, will have the effect of $1.2 billion reduction in total healthcare funding due to the inability to match funds already allocated to Tennessee at the federal level. The Greater Memphis Chamber, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville chambers of commerce, along with area hospitals, are jointly supporting the Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) proposal of a 3.5% assessment on net patient revenue.

In early February, the THA board of directors voted unanimously to recommend a hospital coverage fee that will restore $659 million (state and federal dollars) in cuts to the TennCare program. Twenty-six other states have a similar assessment in place. This is a self-imposed assessment by the hospitals in the state as an emergency measure to rescue the hospitals’ ability to serve the citizens of Tennessee.

“It hits close to home – especially for Memphis and the Med,” said John W. Moore, President and CEO, for the Greater Memphis Chamber. “We are concerned about the Level 1 Trauma Center, the ability to offer specialized services for burn, perinatal, and hemophilia conditions, and other healthcare services to our Memphis citizens. After talking with my peers at the other chambers, we felt it was imperative to show our support for THA’s self-imposed assessment.”

According to THA, the assessment will not be passed onto patients. It is also noteworthy that the assessment will not apply to state and non-state owned government hospitals, critical access hospitals, freestanding rehabilitation hospitals, or pediatric research hospitals.

The chambers are asking all of their members to support this fee because it is paramount to protecting not only hospitals, but patients, other TennCare providers and every community in this state as well.

The Greater Memphis Chamber is the lead economic development agency for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,300 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.