by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Over the next 10 years, Carolinas Health Care System is set to lose a half-billion dollars due to reduced Medicare reimbursements and the lack of Medicaid expansion in North and South Carolina.
Chief Operating Officer Joseph Piemont said it's less likely patients will have to pay more but rather they will have limited to access to services once offered on a wider scale.
Piemont said, "It's created quite a gap for us."
Piemont said the system and others agreed to the reductions before the Affordable Care Act went into effect anticipating state lawmakers would expand Medicaid.
But that did not happen in either of the Carolinas where CHS operate 40 hospitals.
"It's a serious reduction in revenue, and were having to plan around that," Piemont said.
An option that has helped reduce costs at the main hospitals is patients going to community clinics like CMC Biddle-Point, in west Charlotte.
The clinics have been around since the '90s and provide primary care to more than 80 percent of uninsured patients in Mecklenburg County, like Linda Henry, letting them pay on a sliding scale.
The access to a primary doctor, regular checkups and discounted prescriptions is keeping patients like Henry healthier and out of the hospital.
Henry said she appreciated her primary doctor.
"We worked on my diet and exercise and we got my diabetes under control, and I am no longer on the diabetic medications because of that," she said.
Carolinas Health Care is not fully reimbursed for covering the costs of the uninsured and Medicare and Medicaid patients.
The system spent more than $870 million on those patients in 2012.
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