Recent findings by a U.S. District Judge show both the good and the bad of the state’s Medicaid program and now it is time for the state legislature to respond, the Chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Health and Social Services said Thursday.
“The Oklahoma Health Care Authority should be commended for improving the program and being found in compliance on several major issues. However, this decision indicates there is room for improvement and this gives us an opportunity for overall system reform that effectively delivers health care to all children, regardless of insurance status,” said Senator Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa.
According to court documents, Judge Claire Eagan found the Oklahoma Health Care Authority was in compliance on several administrative functions including its enrollment system, its relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, its policy to restrict payment for experimental treatments and its substantial compliance with Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Services (“EPSDT”), which is designed to support “well child” visits.
Adelson said the deficiencies in the program that the court did find will require legislative support to repair.
“The State is lacking in physician workforce, especially in pediatric subspecialties, and that can result in unacceptably long waiting periods for needed care. Medicaid payments are insufficient because the legislature has been unable to fund higher rates despite the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s request for provider rate increases,” Adelson said.
Adelson said he will look for solutions to the deficiencies in the coming weeks.
“As chairman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for the program, I want to work with providers and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to address these needs and insufficiencies. In the meantime, I strongly urge all parties to refrain from personal attacks or unproductive threats as we move forward,” Adelson concluded.