Oklahoma Medical Schools To Lose Federal Funding
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal government says it will no longer help Oklahoma medical students become doctors.
The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services says millions of dollars normally used to fund medical schools will not be available next year.
The message from the federal government is that money is going away and it's staying away. This stems from last December when the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) blocked nearly $110 Million dollars from the state after the legislature was forced to make cuts to Medicaid funding.
In a letter sent to the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority in early April, the CMS said there is no statutory authorization for medicaid money to go to training doctors and Oklahoma leaders failed to answer questions about the state's medical school programs.
Oklahoma has relied on millions in federal money to help prop up training programs for incoming doctors for decades.
In a statement the Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO said in part: "We are disappointed with decision...We believe the state did everything that was expected to meet the criteria."
There is a way to reverse this in the coming years and letters indicate both state and federal officials are looking for a new path to funding. The loss of this money could not have come at a worse time. Oklahoma healthcare costs are expected to rise as people get older and the state is facing a massive doctor shortage. 75% of the Oklahoma's 77 counties are considered health care poor.