Thursday, March 25, 2010

AUGUSTA, Maine - After a brief truce, Medicaid cuts are back on the table in Maine.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced in late January it plans to cut payments for all home medical equipment by 10% or $1.3 million dollars. That's on top of $700,000 in cuts that went into effect Oct. 1.

"We've given them everything we can," said Jim Greatorex, president of Portland-based Black Bear Medical Services. "I can only speak for myself, and we will not continue participating in Medicaid if they impose this cut."

Last fall, Greatorex was one of a group of providers and Medicaid officials who negotiated a fee schedule that lessened the impact of cuts across a variety of categories.

The New England Association of Medical Equipment Dealers sent out an alert to Maine members asking them to contact their lawmakers and DHHS to protest the cuts. Greatorex said he'd been in communication with DHHS and the appropriations committee, which makes the final decision on what does--or doesn't--get cut.

"We did manage to get DHHS to recommend that they do not cut us," he said.