Billing switch adds fuel to Prussing's fire

URBANA — For Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, Carle's switch to provider-based billing is more fuel for her opposition to Carle's new property tax exemption.

"The federal government needs to look at hospital pricing, because this is really crazy," she said. "They are really being such clueless people in terms of their responsibility to the community."

Prussing wants to change a new state law that redefined the terms under which hospitals can qualify for a charitable tax exemption.

Carle's new tax exemption means a $6.3 million hit for Champaign County taxing bodies this year, of which $4.5 million will be a loss to Urbana taxing units.

Prussing contends Carle isn't on the edge, financially, because a 2011 financial statement Carle filed with the Illinois Attorney General's office indicated Carle cleared about $108 million that year and had $763 million in unrestricted cash reserves.

Carle says it has adopted provider-based billing because it ensures fair compensation for all the services it provides.

Plus, it will allow Carle to participate in a federal drug purchasing program that will help reduce the total cost of care, Carle officials said.

In a statement about provider-based billing on Carle's website at http://www.carle.org, Carle says it will be affected by more than $143 million in revenue cuts over the next decade and is making this change to help ensure the ability to provide high-quality care in the future.

Following is a break-down of the cuts Carle says it will sustain:

— $80 million in Affordable Care Act cuts over 10 years.

— $15 million in federal budget sequestration cuts over 10 years.

— $12 million over 10 years for coding adjustment cuts authorized by the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

— $35 million in medical education cuts over 10 years.

— $1.6 million in outpatient reimbursement cuts over 10 years.

In addition, Carle said, in 2013, there is $2 million in state Medicaid rate reduction cuts and $2 million in cuts due to the elimination of the state's Excellence in Academic Medicine program.

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