The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved $17.7 million in funding for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to prevent provider rate cuts. The Senate also approved $26.5 million in additional funding for the Department of Human Services (DHS) to make up a portion of the agency’s funding struck down by the courts.
“Provider rates were in jeopardy of being cut after the budget agreement reached during the first special session was vetoed. Protecting provider rates is essential to ensuring Oklahomans, especially rural Oklahomans, have access to their doctors and other health care providers. The Senate’s vote today protects an essential part of our state’s health care system,” said President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a smoking cessation fee resulting in $215 million in lost funding for three health care agencies: DHS, OHCA, and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS). The funding approved by the Senate on Wednesday ensures OHCS and DHS have enough funding through April. ODMHSAS already has enough funding to make it through the end of April.
Schulz said the Oklahoma Senate will continue working on long-term solutions to fund these three health care agencies through the end of the fiscal year.