The Dallas Morning News reports that nursing facilities could see a two percent Medicaid cut if Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs’s proposed reductions go through.
To deal with a potential budget shortfall, Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus asked HHSC to reduce Medicaid spending by five percent. Suehs offered a list of reductions worth $304 million.
“We were asked to lay out options,” Stephanie Goodman, a spokesperson for HHSC, told the Dallas Morning News. Goodman also said the proposed reductions weren’t final. In addition to nursing facilities, doctors, dentists, and hospitals would see Medicaid cuts. The newspaper reports that hospitals’ trauma funding from the Driver Responsibility Program could be cut by 10 percent.
A few years ago, the state increased fees for pediatric and child-dental services to settle class action lawsuits. Suehs’s list of reductions includes $13 million worth of cuts to settlement-related pilot programs.
Tim Graves, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association in Austin, wrote a letter to the editor. An excerpt:
“We believe that before we engage in discussions about cutting Texas seniors’ key Medicaid-financed programs, we must absolutely look first at the fact facilities are already dealing with a state and federal funding environment that squeezes their collective ability to recruit and retain high-quality direct-care staff…A full 80 to 85 percent of Texas’ nursing home residents are dependent upon federal and state programs that have already been cut — or are now being examined for cuts in Austin.”
The Austin Statesman‘s government and political blog reports that over 300 people showed up at last week’s HHSC budget meeting.
(Sources: Dallas Morning News and the Austin Statesman)