Central Health Reserves are for Patient Care, Not Corporate Profit.
Central Health builds and maintains reserves to fill gaps in care, expand services, and adhere to its long-established emergency reserves policy to ensure care is always available.
Ascension Texas (Ascension) claims Central Health is “amassing” $400 million in reserves in an attempt to buy Dell Seton Medical Center. This is false and misleading.
The fact is Central Health builds and maintains reserves to provide healthcare services for Travis County’s safety-net population and to fill gaps in care that Ascension created. Ascension’s levels of care for Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP) patients have been declining overall for the better part of a decade.
Ascension apparently wants Central Health to use its reserves to pay Ascension more for doing less. It is not financially responsible for Central Health, a local taxpayer-funded hospital district, to forgo its reserves to further increase profits of the largest, most profitable non-profit hospital system in the United States. Ascension complains about Central Health building its reserves when Ascension Seton has sent $1.1 billion in 2017, and hundreds of millions of dollars over the past five years out of Central Texas and into the coffers of Ascension’s national entities – entities that are reportedly sitting on over $26 billion in reserves.
Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP)
MAP and MAP Basic are health coverage programs for Travis County residents with low income. With MAP, patients can see a doctor or dentist, get prescriptions, or get hospital care. Through MAP and MAP Basic, we provide care to low-income residents by connecting them to a broad network of providers for their physical, mental, and dental health needs. In 2022, thanks to the investment from local taxpayers, we added 16 provider locations, making our current total 204, and funded more than 500,000 primary care visits.
Unfortunately, Ascension is failing to provide the healthcare services it agreed to for MAP patients. The levels of care have been declining for a decade. And it’s not just hospital care. Ascension’s failures apply to numerous specialty areas, including general surgery, mammography, oncology radiation therapy, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, podiatry, plastic surgery, pulmonology, and rheumatology.
For updates about Central Health’s lawsuit against Ascension go here.