SoonerCare cuts could affect nearly a million Oklahomans

VIDEO: SoonerCare cuts could affect nearly a million Oklahomans

Quick facts:

  • OHCA is cutting rates by 25 percent for Soonercare providers.
  • Local medical personnel said the cuts could be devastating.
  • OHCA officials said the cuts come as a result of state budget troubles.

Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans may no longer receive healthcare.

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Medical service providers who accept SoonerCare patients will get 25 percent less in reimbursements from the healthcare authority.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber says cuts to SoonerCare could have devastating consequences in the state. I'm talking to...

Posted by FOX23 Naomi Keitt on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is notifying SoonerCare providers that they will cut rates by 25 percent starting June 1.

The cuts will affect all providers, including hospitals, physicians and pharmacies.

Medical service providers in Green Country said the cuts will be devastating.

They said they may have to cut salaries or stop accepting SoonerCare patients.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority said they are making the cuts because of the budget deficit in the state.

They contract with more than 46,000 providers.

Nearly 800,000 Oklahomans have SoonerCare. Nearly 130,000 of them live in Tulsa.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez released a full statement on the cuts:

“I do not take these cuts lightly; as the state’s largest health insurer, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority underpins the entire fabric of the state’s health care system that serves all Oklahomans. I worry about the infrastructure of our health care system in light of these cuts. From a business standpoint, I’m afraid many providers will close their doors to our patients. In some cases, especially in rural parts of our state, health care professionals will have to move their business to larger communities in order to survive financially.”

Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, responded to the announcement:

“The announcement of a 25 percent cut to SoonerCare provider rates is one of the most devastating consequences of our state’s budget crisis to date. A cut of this magnitude threatens the very survival of our state’s Medicaid program, raising the unthinkable possibility that hundreds of thousands of our residents could lose access to health care and that many more rural hospitals — often the economic engines of their communities – could close their doors permanently. 

This is a pivotal moment: Oklahoma faces a health care crisis that definitively threatens the economic well-being of our communities and the effectiveness of our workforce, and state leaders must find a solution. We implore the Oklahoma Legislature and the Governor’s office to stand behind an Oklahoma solution to health care that meets the unique needs of our state and ensures a prosperous future for all Oklahomans.”

State Representative Seneca Scott of Tulsa also responded to the cuts:

“This is awful. This will adversely affect our children who depend on the few SoonerCare physicians we have in our district, especially for medical specialists who provide chronic care, sickle-cell or kidney dialysis.”