Kentucky hospitals are losing millions of dollars every year due to medicare and medicaid reimbursements that are going unpaid.
Healthcare officials tell WYMT's Michel Mason the problem is worse here than anywhere else in the country.
Hospitals are fighting both the federal and state governments to make up millions of dollars lost each year on medicaid. ARH took a $16,000,000 hit last year, $13,000,000 of that, in Kentucky facilities alone.
"It creates quite a shortfall for us and has a big impact on our ability to deliver care," said Chief Financial Officer of ARH Joe Grossman.
Grossman says ARH cares for twice the number of medicaid and uninsured patients than other Kentucky hospitals.
"And when you put on top of that the shortfalls in reimbursements from both federal and state, that puts us in a very challenging situation in order for us to pay our employees and maintain our facilities," added Grossman.
Hospitals aren't the only ones suffering because of this problem. Families who have health insurance pay an estimated $1,100 more every year because the government is unable to pay the entire tab for medicare and medicaid.
Medicaid makes up 18% of Pikeville Medical Center's patient load. Luckily, unpaid reimbursements are not forcing them to cut staff.
"You're probably going to see some medical facilities that just can't survive and that's going to be unfortunate for everybody," said Keith Bridges, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations & Marketing for Pikeville Medical Center.
Hospitals continue to negotiate with the state and federal governments for whatever they can get.
ARH is among dozens of Kentucky hospitals suing the state for underpaid medicaid funds since 2004.
Pikeville Medical Center is not part of that lawsuit.