Kansas Hospitals Support Medicaid Expansion During Kansas Legislature’s Hearings:
Here’s What They’re Saying

Last week, Governor Laura Kelly’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion proposal received support from over 20 Kansas hospital leaders and the Kansas Hospital Association, which represents more than 120 hospitals and health care facilities across the state. Their testimony was submitted for the hearings in the House Health and Human Services Committee and the joint session of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Since Kansas has had the option to expand Medicaid, eight rural hospitals have closed and 57% of Kansas’ rural hospitals are in danger of closing.

Here’s what they’re saying:

“The biggest impact Medicaid expansion could make on rural hospitals like [William Newton Hospital] is the cost of uncompensated care, which for our hospital is approximately $2.7 million per year. The majority of services for uncompensated care are for emergency room visits and emergency surgeries. In 2023, [William Newton Hospital’s] emergency room volumes were at an all‐time high, approaching 10,000 visits for the year. Many of these visits would have been avoidable if the patients had health care coverage and sought preventative care.”
Brian Barta, CEO, William Newton Hospital

“On behalf of our 122 community hospitals, increasing health insurance coverage is a critical issue for the health of Kansans but also for the health care industry. In Kansas, our hospitals are facing significant financial headwinds. With more than 73 percent of hospitals in Kansas having a negative operating margin going into 2023, we know that 2024 hasn’t been easier. Based on the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform analysis, 58 rural hospitals in Kansas are at financial risk [of closure].”
—Tara Mays, Vice President State Legislative Relations, Kansas Hospital Association

“By expanding Medicaid, we can collectively reduce the number of uninsured individuals which will improve health outcomes and strengthen and transform our health care system in the state. For [CommonSpirit Health] specifically, expanding Medicaid will positively impact our three hospitals by $4.4 million annually, which is a lifeline for us.”
—Nicole Milo, System Director Government and Community Affairs, Mountain Region CommonSpirit Health

“Kansas hospitals cannot refuse medical treatment to patients in emergency situations, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. At our hospital, we provided over $5.2 million in uncompensated care in 2023. Currently in Montgomery County, there are nearly 1,000 uninsured residents who would become eligible for Medicaid with expansion. This would provide access to care they need and reduce health care costs for everyone. Expanding Medicaid would create nearly 300 new jobs and insert over $7 million in new annual health care spending in our county. Expanding Medicaid is good for Montgomery County.”
—Brian Lawrence, President and CEO, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center

“Medicaid expansion would benefit our hospital by reducing the amount of uncompensated care we provide. In an environment where operating margins are already in the negative, it doesn’t take a lot of uncompensated care to tip the scale even further. Last year alone, our hospital provided more than $1.86 million in uncompensated care. This bill comes at a time when the health care industry in Kansas is providing almost $1.2 billion in uncompensated care to our state.”
—Ruth Duling, CEO, Girard Medical Center

“Gove County Medical Center provided over 10 million dollars in salaries and benefits to its community. Any rural community that would lose that large of an employer and economic benefit would struggle to not see a population collapse. Rural residents already struggle to have access to local health care and Medicaid expansion would help keep that access close by.”
—Conner Fiscarelli, CEO, Gove County Medical Center

The estimated impact of Medicaid expansion with 150,000 beneficiaries could provide $865,552 in new revenue, with a net benefit of $765,901 for our hospital. Hospitals are an economic driver of local economies and one of the largest industries in the state. Expanding Medicaid would create $5,022,000 in new annual health care spending in McPherson County, boosting our economy and creating new jobs in our community.”
—Tanner Wealand, Interim CEO, McPherson Hospital    

Testimony for the House hearing can be found here and for the Senate informational hearing can be found here.

The following hospitals submitted testimony in support of Medicaid expansion:

  • Coffeyville Regional Medical Center
  • McPherson Hospital
  • CommonSpirit Health
  • Minneola Healthcare
  • Community HealthCare System
  • Morris County Hospital
  • Girard Medical Center
  • Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center
  • Gove County Medical Center
  • Newton Medical Center
  • Hays Medical Center
  • Patterson Health Center
  • Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System
  • Saint Luke’s Health System
  • AdventHealth
  • Stormont Vail Health
  • Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital
  • The University of Kansas Health System
  • Labette Health
  • Ascension via Christi
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital
  • William Newton Hospital
  • Memorial Health System