News Release

February 11, 2010

OHCA Contact: Jo Kilgore, Public Information Manager, (405) 522-7474.

SoonerCare providers will see further rate reductions

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board approved additional reductions of 3.5 percent to rates paid to SoonerCare providers for health care services. The cuts will be added to the 3.25 percent rate reductions which were approved at the January board meeting. The latest cuts are required to accommodate the agency’s reduced allocation for February through June of 2010. Both rate reductions will go into effect April 1.

The most recent reduction to the agency’s budget amounts to about $12.1 million in state dollars. However, each dollar the state spends in the Medicaid program is matched by $3 from the federal government. A cut of $12.1 million state dollars creates a total cut of more than $32 million when matching federal funds are taken away.

Past actions by the board include a December meeting cut of about $17 million in state funds from the agency’s budget which equaled a total reduction of $69.6 million when the federal matching funds were included. Those cuts involved reducing administrative costs, changes to durable medical equipment (DME) and prescription benefits, and changes in payments to providers for certain services. At the January meeting, a cut of $5 million in state funds, and the accompanying loss of $15 million in federal funds, was accommodated by the 3.25 percent reduction in provider rates.

“We’re feeling the same pain as other state agencies,” said Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez. “But that fact doesn’t make these actions any easier. Our board and agency along with state leadership has worked diligently to increase provider rates over the years. We sincerely hope that the providers will continue to work with our program through these tough economic times. More than 800,000 Oklahomans are counting on us.”
The provider rate reductions will make up about $5 million of the required $12.1 million reduction. The agency’s administrative budget is also being reduced by an additional $1.4 million. The remainder of cuts include: increased scrutiny of adult dental emergency extractions; reduction of Medicare crossover co-insurance and deductible to freestanding Medicaid primary end-stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities; and a reduction of 40 percent for the rate paid for diabetic supplies.