Cuts in SoonerCare that had been proposed earlier in the year have been canceled, per an announcement from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) on Friday.
SoonerCare is Oklahoma's Medicaid, covering nearly 900,000 Oklahomans including 600,000 children. It is a program provided to those with financial need, but the OHCA was facing financial need of its own. The OHCA had already taken several measures to make up for $70 million in budget reduction, but that was going to result in reduction of services starting in 2018.
On Dec. 1, the OHCA board had approved across-the-board provider rate reductions of 6 percent and 1 percent for nursing facilities as well as eliminating Medicare crossover coinsurance and deductible payments for nursing facilities to be effective Jan. 1. These actions were taken to help cover the remainder of the $70 million base reduction.
However, during a second special session of the Oklahoma state Legislature, lawmakers passed an additional appropriation providing the agency with $17.7 million. Combined with $22.8 million approved by Gov. Mary Fallin, OHCA identified enough funds to operate until April 2018.
"We are thankful to state leadership for continuing to work toward a solution to protect our providers and the Medicaid program. The OHCA has long held a commitment to our providers to pay rates that ensure access to care for our SoonerCare members. The additional appropriation we received allows us to continue that mission,” said OHCA CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard.