OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s struggle to adequately fund health care services became a full-blown crisis today, with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) announcing it will likely be forced to cut $169 million in state and federal matching funds from the Medicaid budget. The proposed cuts will take the form of a 9 percent Medicaid reimbursement rate cut to health care providers beginning December 1.
Oklahoma Hospital Association CEO Craig Jones noted that Oklahoma hospitals have already been cut by $489 million in annual funds since 2010, leading to several closures in rural areas, nine hospital bankruptcies and the elimination of key services and treatments at many health care centers.
“Today’s announcement is just devastating,” said Jones. “We aren’t just seeing an isolated failure to invest in our health care infrastructure, we are seeing the collapse of a budgeting process that is supposed to fund core government services. If we allow this to continue, we will be a sicker state, a less prosperous state and a less desirable place to live. We need state leaders to step up now and prevent this crisis.”
Nico Gomez, CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, said that the proposed cuts would leave almost half of the state’s skilled nursing facilities in danger of closing.
“We are threatening to turn Oklahoma from a place where everyone is cared for with dignity and respect, no matter how vulnerable or elderly, into a place where some of our residents have nowhere to go,” said Gomez.
Gomez said the process was unfair and cruel to residents at Oklahoma’s nursing facilities.
“We are paying a real human price for political gridlock and budgeting incompetence in Oklahoma,” said Gomez. “Tonight, there will be nursing home residents wondering, ‘Will I have a home next year? Will I have the medical care I need?’ It is cruel and unfair to leave them in that position because lawmakers can’t find a way to balance the budget at the Capitol. We need action and we need permanent solutions that don’t leave people terrified of what the next budget cut will do to their lives.”
The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers represents the interest of more than 18,000 residents and 19,000 professionals that work in Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities. The mission of OAHCP is to assist its members in providing the highest quality care to the seniors, individuals with disabilities and vulnerable Oklahomans who live in our facilities. We advocate for the enhancement of that care so that Oklahoma long-term care residents may live in the comfort and dignity they deserve. For more information please visit www.oahcp.org.About OHA
The Oklahoma Hospital Association is the voice of hospitals in Oklahoma. Established in 1919, the OHA represents more than 135 hospitals and health systems across the state.
OHA’s primary objective is to promote the health and welfare of all Oklahomans by leading and assisting its member organizations in providing high quality, safe and valued health care services to their communities. The OHA also believes hospitals play a vital role in helping to advance the overall state of health for their patients and the public at-large.
The OHA provides a variety of membership services including representation and advocacy at the state and federal national levels, educational programs, information and data analysis, patient quality and safety resources, and industry communication. Members can also avail themselves of various insurance and group-purchasing products.
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