For Immediate Release: 09/22/2011
Contact: Doug Porter, Director, Health Care Authority, 360-725-1040; Heidi Robbins Brown, Deputy Director, Health Care Authority 360-725-1040; Andy Cherullo, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Financial Services, 360-725-1879
OLYMPIA – The Health Care Authority submitted optional budget cuts of 5 percent and 10 percent to the Governor’s office today, including termination of the Basic Health plan, an Apple Health for Kids program that covers immigrant children, and the Disability Lifeline program, which covers temporarily disabled people who can’t qualify for Medicaid.
Because most of Medicaid’s coverage is mandated by federal law, the Health Care Authority’s list is not really an across-the-board cut. Instead, it is a combination of state-only-funded programs and optional Medicaid programs.
“The problem is that even those programs do not add up to the $446 million target in General Fund/State dollars for the 10 percent cut,” said Doug Porter, Health Care Authority Director. “So to make up the difference, we would need to suspend prescription drug coverage for adults up to 18 months to make up the additional $127 million we estimate we would need to hit that target.”
The pharmacy option would impact about 500,000 adults – mostly seniors and people with disabilities – among Medicaid’s 1.2 million clients. Porter noted most of the proposed cuts would have to be authorized by the Legislature first.
“We would need about 60 days-plus to implement the cuts – time spent rewriting regulations, getting State Plan amendments approved by the feds, and providing adequate notice to clients and providers.”
Many of the items on the list of cuts are repeats from a year ago, when similar revenue shortfalls prompted a round of across-the-board budget cutting in state government. Legislators worked hard to protect most of those programs last session, but may not be able to avoid doing so in the future. The list includes a medical interpreter program, the Basic Health plan, Disability Lifeline, non-emergency dental coverage for adults, the Children’s Health program, and the Maternity Support Program.
Some of those programs were slimmed down by legislative mandate, but survived termination.
Porter noted that several items on the list would adversely impact funding for small rural hospitals around the state. Among them are proposals to revise the payment methodology for Critical Access hospitals and a parallel reduction to the Certified Public Expenditure program for hospitals.
The agency did not propose cutting four additional optional programs on the basis of direction from the Legislature and the Governor last year. They are adult hospice, a kidney dialysis program, durable medical equipment areas (wheelchairs, nutrition, diabetic and incontinent supplies), and physical, occupational and speech therapies.
The list of cuts includes:
|Major programs listed among optional cuts||G/F savings possible||Number of clients affected||FTEs affected|
|Adult pharmacy benefits||$127.5 million||500,000|
|Medical for Disability Lifeline and ADATSA||$110.0 million||22,000|
|Termination of Basic Health plan||$48.4 million||35,000||64|
|Termination of Children’s Health Program (CHP)||$34.0 million||25,000|
|Termination of Maternity Support Services||$21.0 million||54,000|
|Hospital Funding: Change payment methodology for Critical Access Hospitals||$19.1 million||--|
|All non-emergency adult Dental services||$11.7 million||123,000|
|Hospital funding: Reduce CPE hold harmless||$13.9 million||--|
|School-based medical services||$5.9 million||22,000|
|Interpreter services||$4.8 million||70,000|
The Health Care Authority does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND, CONTACT:
Jim Stevenson, Communications, 360-725-1915 firstname.lastname@example.org (Pager: 360-971-4067)
Sharon Michael, Communications, 360-923-2764 email@example.com