Oklahoma-The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) acted today to cancel the Request for Proposal (RFP) for SoonerHealth+, the fully capitated (sic), statewide model of care coordination (often called “managed care”) that has been in development for Oklahoma Medicaid’s aged, blind and disabled (ABD) population. The plan represented a partial privatization of the Medicaid system.
A diverse coalition of health care providers, including nursing homes, hospitals, mental health professionals, and both the Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma medical centers had expressed concerns about the plan. Health care experts determined that the state plan may have been in conflict with federal rules and regulations, which could have resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds. (Watch: News9: Oklahoma medical centers at risk of losing $650 million in federal funds)
The OHCA announced that the state would not move forward with the Medicaid privatization plan today, saying “the decision was made in the best interest of the state due to the uncertainty surrounding both federal and state funding.”
The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers (OAHCP), which represents the state’s nursing homes, praised the decision.
“The Health Care Authority and CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard absolutely did the correct thing by delaying implementation of managed care until we can determine if it is right for the state,” said OAHCP President and CEO Nico Gomez. “I appreciate her and her agency’s wisdom and courage on this issue. It would have been irresponsible to move forward with any plan that put essential medical services at risk as an unintended consequence.”
Gomez also thanked legislators and Governor Mary Fallin for highlighting potential problems within managed care. The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed HCR 1009, a resolution instructing OHCA not to move forward with managed care implementation. Over half of the state Senate cosponsored SCR 14, which contained similar language. Fallin also wrote a letter to OHCA asking the agency to delay the program’s start date.
“We asked our lawmakers to scrutinize this plan and to slow it down if it endangered the state’s health care infrastructure,” said Gomez. “They listened to us and took the right action. We are very grateful to the lawmakers who worked with us to ensure this policy didn’t inadvertently dismantle essential health care services.”
Press release provided by: OAHCP
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.