Ron DeSantis Looking to Support New Hospital Quality Program

In his budget proposal, Gov. Ron DeSantis is recommending $3.8 million to create a Medicaid hospital quality performance incentive program to be known as the Top Outcome for Patients (TOP) program.

The TOP program will rely on two or more nationally-recognized hospital rating systems that involve metrics such as readmission rates, mortality rates, staffing ratios, staff credentials, and physician or patient surveys to measure a hospital’s quality of patient outcomes.

One of the top cities in line for this program is Jacksonville.

Using the metrics the governor’s budget provides, nine Jacksonville-area hospitals would receive the following funds (which vary by the number of Medicaid patients they treat) because they are nationally ranked by US News and World Report’s 2019 “Top Hospital” list or they have a federal designation from the US Center for Medicaid Services as a “4 Star” or “5 Star” hospital.

Some may see this as a bit of change for DeSantis because when in the U.S. House, he repeatedly opposed the expansion of Medicaid under then-President Barack Obama.  But supporters of the governors’ proposal differ. They say, to the contrary to Obamacare, this proposal is not a one-size-fits-all Medicaid plan, seeing it instead as a Medicaid add-on payment only given to hospitals that get a high-quality designation.

If passed, this would be the first-of-its-kind model for additional Medicaid funding in the nation. Money sought for high-performing hospitals Jacksonville-area hospitals that would receive additional Medicaid dollars.

Leon L. Haley Jr., chief executive officer of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville, said the governor’s plan “will help us further our mission, which is to heal, to comfort, to educate and to discover. We dedicate our work to improving the lives of those we touch through quality health care, medical education, innovation and research.”


Reach Ed Dean at


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