Budget Cuts Have OK Health Care Groups Worried For Patients In Need

Tuesday, March 29th 2016, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

The state is going to cut the amount it reimburses health care providers for Medicaid patients by 25 percent.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority said it realizes that will prompt some doctors to stop treating Medicaid patients.

The cuts also affect hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and medical equipment providers.

Some health care groups are worried thousands of elderly and disabled Oklahomans might lose the ability to live at home.

Rhonda Fletcher has multiple sclerosis - it affects her brain and spinal cord, which, in turn, limits her movements.

"As the disease has progressed, my limitations have grown a lot," she said.

Six years after her symptoms became severe, though, Fletcher is still able to live in her Broken Arrow home thanks to her personal home care assistant, Carina.

Fletcher said, "Carina has just been a gift from God. There's just no other way to say it."

Carina works for Oxford Health Care - one of several Oklahoma companies that serve the elderly and disabled that are worried budget cuts will hit them next, meaning patients like Fletcher might lose the help they need.

"There are literally thousands of people living here in our state that are dependent on the services they receive through this program," said Patty Holderman with Oxford Health Care.

Holderman said in-home care actually saves the state money in the long run because it's less expensive than institutionalizing patients in nursing homes or hospitals.

That's the alternative, one Rhonda doesn't want to think about; so she has a message for lawmakers, "There are people behind what you're doing, people that desperately need the help from what would be cut."

Wednesday, Oxford Health Care and several other companies will deliver letters from their clients to the State Capitol asking lawmakers to set aside funding.