Texas providers continue to fight Medicaid cuts

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - Texas providers are facing a smaller Medicaid reimbursement cut than expected, but it's still too much, they say.

"Due to these cuts, on top of the cuts we've faced over the years, a lot of the products will no longer be available for clients," said provider Patrick Boardman, a member of the Greater Texas Rehab Providers' Council.

The state had originally sought an across-the-board cut of 10% to home medical equipment, unless providers could find $40 million in cuts.

A workgroup of providers was unsuccessful at finding enough to cut.

In July, the Texas Health and Human Services Coalition (HHSC) announced instead a 6% reduction in reimbursement for many HME items, and the elimination altogether of the benefit for the fully-electric hospital bed. 

Providers testified in July about the impact of a 6% cut, to no avail.

"They can't overturn the proposal we have because the Texas legislature had already mandated these cuts be done," said Boardman.

Still, 6% is better than 10%, says Liz Moran, executive director of the Medical Equipment Suppliers Association. She thinks providers had a lot to do with the change.

"I think it might have been a combination of the workgroup, and some ideas and suggestions that were passed along privately or independently," said Moran. "I think it's been a joint effort by all the providers to have an impact on what the bottom line was going to be."

At press time in early August, providers were working to share their testimony with HHSC officials. If those officials couldn't be persuaded to delay or eliminate the cuts, they will be effective Sept. 1.