- Associated Press - Sunday, April 15, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The state of New Hampshire is facing a budget shortfall of as much as $36 million in the wake of a federal court decision about hospital payments.

The shortfall is likely to cause state officials to scramble for a solution before a payment deadline of May 31. The Legislature did not set aside funding last year in anticipation of the court’s decision, the Concord Monitor reported .

The issue began with the Legislature’s decision to set aside $166 million for an uncompensated care fund in fiscal 2018. That number relied on a new payment formula from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that allowed for lower payouts.

Hospitals warned that the formula wasn’t properly established, and said it would face a court challenge. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia handed down a decision in March that sided with the hospitals and that voided the new formula, leaving New Hampshire owing money.

Hospitals in New Hampshire want the full amount they believe is owed, which is about $237 million. That’s more than $70 million more than what has been budgeted for, said Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem. About half of that amount would come from state money and rest from a federal match.

State officials said they’re working on a path forward. John Formella, a legal counsel for the governor’s office, declined to comment on how much the state’s willing to pay. He said numbers “are still in flux” because of pending court appeals.

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