Haslam: Vandy layoffs not my fault, still trying for Medicaid solution

Gov. Bill Haslam is shrugging off the suggestion that reductions at Vanderbilt University Medical Center could have been avoided had he taken the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced another round of layoffs to total 1,000 job reductions by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Haslam said he is still negotiating a deal to expand health coverage to low income people without expanding the state’s Medicaid program called TennCare.

“One of the things that has led me to keep trying to come up with a solution that works is we are concerned about the health care providers around the state, whether it be Vanderbilt or some of our smaller rural providers which are in an even more tenuous situation,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Haslam pointed to a combination of factors that are leaving hospitals in tight spots, such as changing payments on Medicare, the impact of the sequestration in addition to the state’s decision in the spring not to expand TennCare using federal dollars while it seeks an alternative Tennessee-specific plan.

“I think the things that are impacting Vanderbilt, as big as they are, is felt even more strongly if you’re a small rural hospital,” said Haslam.