St. Francis Changes Course, Funds Program For Expectant Mothers Month-To-Month

the hospital had earlier decided to cut funding

Funding For Infant Morality
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Funding For Infant Morality
Some hospitals say that changes in federal and state funding are forcing them to make tough choices.  In Hartford, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center recently decided to cut funding for a city infant mortality program. 
 
But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the hospital has apparently had a change of heart.
 
Last month, St. Francis told the city that it would no longer fund the program. But Raul Pino, the city's health director, says the hospital has let him know it has reversed its course.
 
"They have informed us that they are funding the program on a month-to-month basis."
 
Pino says the hospital will also conduct an analysis of the program to see if it is running efficiently.
 
In an emailed statement, the hospital confirmed the change. St. Francis says it wants to continue to provide the best possible healthcare for the city's residents while having effective and sustainable programs.
 
How we pay for healthcare for the poor is a big debate, and the Affordable Care Act is at the center of it.  As part of that debate, hospitals say the state is slashing their Medicaid funding; the state says the hospitals will get about the same money as before, just in different ways.
 
Regardless of who is right, hospitals have started to adjust.  Last month, St. Francis told the city it would end its funding for the infant mortality program. St. Francis pays $105,000 a year to the program; Hartford Hospital pays the same, and the city pays $210,000.
 
But now, the St. Francis money is back -- at least on a month-to-month basis.  And Pino says public pressure played a role.
 
"They have received some concerns from the community regarding to how beneficial this program is to expectant mothers of low income and uninsured, or underinsured."
 
Pino says he welcomes the month-to-month funding.  But he also says it's not a long-term solution.
 
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.