Tuesday, January 26, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - HME providers in Oklahoma wiped the sweat from their brows in December, when Medicaid officials decided to cut their budget with a scalpel, not a chainsaw.

Tasked with cutting their 2010 budget by 5%, Medicaid officials initially considered eliminating HME coverage for adults and cutting HME reimbursement 10%. Instead, Medicaid officials made selective cuts to certain HME like oxygen concentrators and nebulizers with compressors.

"We don't love it, but it's better than the alternatives," said Teresa Schoonmaker, the office manager at Mike's Medical in Clinton.

Medicaid officials cut $16.8 million from their budget. Because a $1 cut in state funds means a $3 loss in matching federal funds, the total reduction is more like $69.6 million.

Starting Jan. 1, Medicaid began paying about $158 per month for stationary oxygen concentrators. It started paying about $120 for nebulizers with compressors for children, and stopped paying for nebulizers for adults.

Provider Gail DeWitt was frustrated that Medicaid officials made their decision so late in the year.

"It was hard for us to make business decisions for 2010," said DeWitt, the general manager at Westmont Medical Services in Tulsa.

Due to the cuts, Mike's Medical expects to limit deliveries for Medicaid patients, Schoonmaker says. hme