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Oklahoma House passes bill to create program to receive federal Medicaid funds

House Bill 1381 would form the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program to allow Oklahoma hospitals to pay a 2 percent assessment on their net patient revenues. Backers say if the state is unable to come up with the money, it would mean further cuts in Medicaid reimbursement rates.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 11, 2011
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“This is not a tax because it can't be passed on to anyone,” Cox said. “The hospitals are getting back more than they put in.”

The hospital money and Medicaid funds would be placed into a fund managed by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. It would give funds to hospitals based on the amount of Medicaid patients they treat, said Cox, an emergency room physician.

HB 1381 would prevent hospitals from passing the assessment to patients, he said.

“All hospitals have come together and formulated a plan,” Cox said. “It's the greatest cooperation of different groups that I've ever seen, because the (Oklahoma) Hospital Association, the Health Care Authority, the university hospitals, the critical-access hospitals, the state-owned hospitals, the private hospitals have all come together and worked this plan out.”

Craig Jones, president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, said the bipartisan vote in the House moves Oklahoma one step closer to being eligible to receive its fair share of federal matching funds to preserve patient services provided by Oklahoma hospitals.

“Forty-six other states already have a program such as this in place,” Jones said. “Oklahoma routinely uses federal matching dollars for transportation and other aspects of government. If Oklahoma doesn't take advantage of this federal match, the money will go to other states.”

HB 1381 provides that the annual assessment would end July 2014 or if the federal match goes away.