The Board of Examiners Tuesday approved a series of 24 contracts designed to help hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities in six rural counties cover costs from Medicaid patients.

The system uses what’s called Intergovernmental Transfers to increase federal funding. Counties and health districts that operate healthcare facilities transfer money to the state.

The state uses that money to leverage more federal funding, then transfers the local money plus the added federal match money back to the local  hospital districts and health care facilities including clinics and senior care homes.

Since Medicare pays more for services than Medicaid, the program helps pay the difference between Medicare and Medicaid payments for different medical services.

The amounts that go back to the local governments are calculated through a series of complicated formulas known as the Upper Payment Limit program. UPL sets the reimbursement rates for a variety of services and providers. 

The limit is designed to prevent facilities from collecting more federal money than Medicare would pay for a given service.

Hospital officials have long said the money is extremely important especially to small rural centers and clinics that often operate on a very narrow profit margin.

The contracts approved Tuesday total $44.6 million

Humboldt will get $20.7 million, White Pine $7.6 million, Lincoln $5.7 million, Lander $6.1 million Pershing $2.5 million and Southern Lyon Hospital District $1.97 million.