About Medicaid and DSH
Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low income, covering 1 in 5 low-income Americans — including many with complex and costly needs for care.
The Medicaid program is structured as a federal-state partnership and jointly financed by the states and federal government. Medicaid facilitates access to care for millions of Americans, particularly for special populations including poor children, children with special healthcare needs, nonelderly adults with disabilities and nursing home residents.
Most Medicaid spending is for elderly and people with disabilities, who make up 25% of beneficiaries but account for almost two-thirds of Medicaid spending.
The Medicaid DSH program, created in 1981, provides payments to hospitals that serve high populations of Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured low-income patients to help offset uncompensated care costs. This program is an important funding stream for hospitals, particularly not-for-profit health providers like Tanner Health System.
The federal law sets a ceiling for the DSH funding each hospital may receive; a hospital can receive no more than the total amount of uncompensated care provided by the hospital. States distribute DSH payments to eligible hospitals, and each year an annual financial report is submitted to the state for each hospital that includes an independently certified audit of its DSH payments to ensure integrity and compliance with the law.