Ridgeview Medical Center is an independent, 109-bed acute care hospital located in Waconia. According to its website, the hospital is at the heart of a regional health care network that includes clinics, emergency services, and specialty programs. With over 1,400 employees, Ridgeview Medical Center is one of the largest employers in the county and serves over 300,000 people per year.
According to the Minnesota Hospital Association, this outstanding medical center, which has received numerous awards and accreditations for its service and quality of care, will lose $582,000 from General Assistance Medical Care cuts.
Like cities and counties all over Minnesota, hospitals are also dealing with the fallout from Governor Pawlenty’s budget cuts and unallotment. Governor Pawlenty cut $381 million from the state budget when he eliminated General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) funding for fiscal year 2011. GAMC is a free program for low-income adults who do not have children under 18 and who do not qualify for federal health care programs. According to KARE11, GAMC covers between 30,000 and 35,000 Minnesotans.
Because these Minnesotans will no longer have GAMC, hospitals like Ridgeview Medical Center are also looking at soaring costs when these individuals show up sicker and with no insurance in the emergency room. Cutting GAMC at a time like this is definitely not a way to make sure Minnesota is a thriving state. We’ve been hearing stories about unfair hospital cuts all week, at the Upper Mississippi Mental Heath Clinic in Bemidji and at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. Check out those stories and more on the Make Minnesota Thrive Drive website.