Medicaid will no longer cut fees to providers

JACKSON – The Mississippi Division of Medicaid, which routinely faces financial trouble, will end the current fiscal year without a previously anticipated deficit and has withdrawn its plan to cut the fees paid to health care providers.
In April, the Division of Medicaid announced that it would have a deficit of $14.3 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
To make up for the shortfall, it said it would cut the reimbursement rate to health care providers, such as nursing homes, pharmacists, doctors and others.
But in a recent news release, Medicaid Executive Director Bob Robinson said “we now believe that we will make it through this difficult fiscal year without running a deficit.”
The plan to cut reimbursement rates had resulted in some health care providers, primarily the state’s pharmacists, filing suit against the Division of Medicaid, claiming the agency was not following the law in trying to enact the rate reductions.
On Wednesday, Price Coleman of Oxford, one of the attorneys representing the pharmacists, said that while the issues appear moot in the case, he was awaiting official notice before withdrawing the case.
In the news release, the Division of Medicaid said it would not have a deficit because of a number of factors, including fewer expenditures on Medicaid recipients than expected.
During the final days of the 2010 session, the Legislature passed a bill signed by the governor to direct $3.8 million from the settlement of a lawsuit by Attorney General Jim Hood to the Division of Medicaid to help make up for the cuts.
Both Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, and Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersille, chairs of their chambers’ Public Health committees, argued that the cuts were unnecessary because the deficit could be carried over to the next year.
Bryan said the plan to cut reimbursement rates “created an issue where there shouldn’t have been one. I am glad things have returned to normal.”

Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal