Press Release

November 22, 2017

OHCA Contacts: Jo Stainsby - (405) 522-7474

OHCA budget update

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has called a special board meeting for Dec. 1 to recommend that the agency delay and reduce provider rate reductions which were approved on Nov. 9 and scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1.

The agency received $22.8 million when Governor Mary Fallin approved sections of the appropriations bill on November 17. These funds will allow the agency to postpone and reduce the provider rate reductions until Jan. 1.

In anticipation of the agency’s $70 million reduction to its appropriation due to the loss of the smoking cessation fee and in order to submit a balanced budget, the OHCA has already taken several budget balancing actions. First, the agency developed several program changes to be implemented in SFY18 that produced savings of approximately $3.2 million for SFY18. In addition, $4.65 million in 2017 general revenue was returned to the agency in 2018. The agency had $12 million in carryover from SFY17 to use.  These combined savings equate to approximately $19.85 million. 

On Nov. 9, the OHCA board approved across-the-board provider rate reductions of 9 percent and 4 percent for nursing facilities as well as eliminating Medicare crossover coinsurance and deductible payments for nursing facilities to be effective Dec. 1. These actions were taken to help cover the remainder of the $70 million base reduction.

However, with the receipt of the $22.8 million, the agency has scheduled a State Plan Amendment Rate Committee (SPARC) meeting and an emergency board meeting for Dec. 1 to amend provider rate reductions. According to the SPARC meeting notification filed with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, OHCA plans to submit across-the-board provider rate reductions of 6 percent (with exceptions) and 1 percent for nursing facilities as well as eliminating Medicare crossover coinsurance and deductible payments for nursing facilities to be effective Jan. 1.

“The OHCA continues to work diligently to protect providers from rate reductions. Reducing and delaying the rate reductions is part of that commitment. However, while these funds have provided an immediate relief, even with the Jan. 1 rate reductions, we are still approximately $9.5 million short of a balanced budget,” said OHCA CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard. “We will continue to work with leadership to try to find funding solutions that will fully fund the agency and possibly allow us to reverse these reductions.” 

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) administers two health programs for the state. The first is SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. SoonerCare works to improve the health of qualified Oklahomans by ensuring that medically necessary benefits and services are available. Qualifying Oklahomans include certain low-income children, seniors, the disabled, those being treated for breast or cervical cancer and those seeking family planning services. The second program OHCA operates is Insure Oklahoma, which assists qualifying adults and small business employees in obtaining health care coverage for themselves and their families. Currently, there are 825,631 Oklahomans enrolled in OHCA’s programs.   The agency contracts with a network of 46,029 providers. For more information, visit www.okhca.org or www.insureoklahoma.org.