OKLAHOMA CITY State Senator Scott Pruitt (R-Broken Arrow) today warned the Health Care Authority that the legislature won't be blackmailed by their attempts to cut services. Pruitt's comments come in response to yesterday's announcement by HCA that they will be cutting $11 million worth of services provided to Oklahomans.
"I first want to remind Oklahomans that many of these announced service cuts do not go into effect until after the legislature convenes regular session in February. We will have our opportunity to address this mismanagement before many of the detrimental effects reach Oklahoma Medicaid beneficiaries," said Pruitt.
Pruitt feels that HCA chose to cut services in an attempt to generate public outrage and blackmail the legislature into simply increasing the agency's appropriation. "They are trying to take the attention away from their mismanagement of the Medicaid program and force the legislature into writing them a bigger check," said Pruitt. "Where are the efforts to reduce administrative costs? Why have they not first cut the areas like personnel and travel expenses that don't directly effect Medicaid reimbursements?"
"It is very difficult to find a doctor in Tulsa County that is willing to participate in the Medicaid program," said Pruitt. "While the rate of reimbursement is a factor in that problem the miles of bureaucratic red tape and unacceptably slow reimbursement process drives more doctors away than the level of pay."
Pruitt wishes to assure members of the Medicaid population and the doctors who provide the services that the legislature will look closely at the moves made by HCA this session. "Perhaps the only way to ensure true accountability is to contract Medicaid administration to the private sector ," said Pruitt.