The Quay County Commission Monday gave final approval to placing about $113,000 into a state fund that finances some operations of the Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital for care of the poor.
A state statute passed in the 2014 legislative session made mandatory the establishment of a new fund called the Safety Net Care Fund for care of the poor. Counties are now required to place an amount equivalent to one-twelfth of one percent of gross receipts into that fund. The money is then sent to the state’s Human Services Dept. for care of persons who otherwise could not afford medical treatment.
Richard Primrose, county manager, said Quay County is fortunate in that it had already established a special gross receipts tax that can cover these payments to the state. Other counties, he said, must take that money from general funds, which finance general county services.
The Safety Net fund replaces the Sole Community Provider program that allowed more local control of funds from the state to care for the poor. Counties, including Quay, were able to use Sole Community Provider funds to obtain three-to-one matching funds under a federal Medicaid program. That federal program, however, ended last year.
Trigg Hospital lost $2 million lost between 2012 and 2013 due to cuts in Medicaid reimbursements from federal sources, administrator Lance Labine said.
State HSD officials said that the cost of care to the poor is expected to decrease, due to increased enrollment in health insurance programs through the Affordable Care Act. Under New Mexico’s Centennial Care Program, many low-income individuals and families will qualify to receive free health insurance through Medicaid.
The Commission also:
οApproved budget adjustments to meet end-of-year needs, including funding of driving while intoxicated prevention programs and for the Quay County Detention Center.
οApproved a rental agreement amounting to about $140 a month for a mailing system lease.