ABOUT MEDICAID REFORM:
North Carolina's legislature is considering two plans on how to overhaul Medicaid, but any decisions on the path to take likely won't be made until the fall. House and Senate Republicans have talked about meeting Nov. 17 to revisit the Medicaid overhaul after they failed to reach a deal this summer.
The Senate plan would allow private companies and hospital-led health plans for compete for state Medicaid contracts to treat patients. A House plan would only allow hospital- or doctor-led plans to carry out Medicaid. Both plans envision giving a fixed amount of money to the provider network or insurance company for each Medicaid patient it sees, although the House plan doesn't go as far as the Senate in terms of the breadth of patient coverage. The Senate also wants a plan operating sooner than the House.
Thirty-seven other states have gone to a model similar to the one North Carolina is considering with mixed results. Connecticut is scaling back its privatized plan and Kentucky is mired in lawsuits over their privatized system.
ABOUT ROBESON COUNTY AND SOUTHEASTERN:
Robeson ranks 97th out of the state's 100 counties for health outcomes, which looks at the length and quality of life. Median household income in Robeson County is about $16,000 less than the state average. About 32 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The county's unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in June, well above the state rate of 6.5 percent.
Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton has 452 beds and offers acute care, intensive care and psychiatric services to more than 16,000 inpatients and 76,000 emergency patients annually. The hospital has more than 2,200 employees.
Source: Southeastern Regional Medical Center, U.S. Census Bureau and North Carolina Hospital Association