Gov. seeks restoration of CHKD funds

Published 9:47 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

While the General Assembly’s state budget left many smarting, Gov. Bob McDonnel is helping ease the pain on the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

Governor Bob McDonnell announced on Friday he will propose an amendment to the biennial budget to restore $1.8 million in state funding for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

“This is a huge day for CHKD and Virginia’s children,” CHKD President and CEO Jim Dahling said in a release. “Governor McDonnell devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to review this complex issue and recognized how important these funds are to the health of Virginia’s children.”

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The state dollars also will allow the facility to receive federal Medicaid reimbursement funds of a similar amount.

The Children’s Hospital is the only free-standing, full-service pediatric hospital in the commonwealth and treats a much larger percentage of children on Medicaid than any other hospital in the state.

The budget proposed by the prior administration contained significant cuts to the hospital, and the General Assembly worked to restore much of this funding. Not restored was state funding for the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Helping lead the effort to secure full funding for the hospital was Suffolk’s Delegate Chris Jones.

“I had a meeting with Medicaid, the Secretary of Health and the Governor just this morning,” Jones said. “I’m very pleased the governor is proposing the amendment. Being from the area himself, I think he understands CHKD’s unique services, due to their high Medicaid population.”

McDonnell’s budget will call for the restoration of $1.8 million to CHKD.

“Losing that $1.8 million (each year) would be a big deal for us,” Dahling said in a March 23 interview with Suffolk News-Herald. “With 53 percent of our children on Medicaid and the fact that we serve all of Hampton Roads, we have a minimal margin on any year.”

The money will be derived through budgetary amendments and actions the Governor will formally propose next week. The governor has until Tuesday April 13th to send down his amendments and vetoes on all budget matters and legislation prior to the reconvened session of the General Assembly on April 21.

“We’re so appreciative of Governor McDonnell and his administration,” Dahling said. “Of course, none of this would have been possible without the unflagging support of the Hampton Roads delegation, especially Delegate Chris Jones and Senator Ralph Northam, and we are hopeful that the General Assembly will pass the governor’s amendment on April 21.”