State Sen. Roger Thompson said he and other legislative and state leaders successfully worked with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to give the first across-the-board reimbursement rate increases since 2009. Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes will receive a four percent increase, while other Soonercare (Oklahoma Medicaid) providers, including hospitals, will receive a three percent increase. The rate increases are expected to go into effect on October 1.
“This is really a two-fold issue for our state. It’s about access to healthcare, particularly in our rural communities. Increasing reimbursement rates ensures the doctors, nurses, hospitals and other providers can continue to provide services,” said Thompson, R-Okemah. “It’s also an economic issue. Sometimes those facilities are major employers in a community. Inadequate reimbursement can result in some providers closing their doors. Better reimbursement rates mean they can continue to operate and keep people in the community working.”
Thompson, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Finance Committee and is the incoming Appropriations Chair, said it was important to point out that no new state dollars, carryover or other one-time funds will be used for the increases. As directed by the provisions of Senate Bill 1605, OHCA plans to use program and administrative savings as well as record drug rebate collections to increase provider rates.
“Healthcare has been an issue I’ve been concerned with throughout my service in the Senate. As we work to improve the health of our state, we must address the areas that have held us back—epidemic diabetes rates, heart disease, cancer, infant mortality and obesity,” Thompson said. “That’s why access to health care is so important. These provider increases will be a tremendous help.”