Latest News, WV Press Videos

Settlement could close some rural W.Va. clinics

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A recent lawsuit settlement could force some rural health clinics in West Virginia to declare bankruptcy and close.

The court-ordered settlement changes how the state reimburses health clinics for treating low-income patients on Medicaid.

Dr. Mark Tomsho, a Summersville pediatrician, told state lawmakers Tuesday that his clinic would lose $750,000 a year because of lower Medicaid reimbursements.

“It’s absolutely crippling to our clinic,” said Tomsho, whose practice has a $3 million-a-year operating budget.

To make matters worse, the settlement also requires some rural health clinics to reimburse the state and federal government for charges dating back to October 2012. Tomsho estimated that his clinic owes $1 million under the formula.

“The number is massive, and it is a bankrupting number,” Tomsho told members of a joint House-Senate health committee during legislative interim meetings in Charleston Tuesday. “There is absolutely no way to survive with a repayment of that sort.”

At one point, Tomsho choked up while talking about the 11,000 patients his clinic serves each year and the 32 employees who work there.

“I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen to the children we see, to my employees and to the other practitioners who work with me,” he said.

West Virginia has about 40 rural health clinics. Most provide primary health-care services.

State health officials said they wouldn’t know exactly how many rural clinics must pay back money and face lower Medicaid reimbursement rates — an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent cut — until after the clinics file cost reports. The clinics must submit reports by June 30…

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address