Oklahoma Medicaid facing possible 25% cut

Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 20:18:36-04

SAPULPA, Okla.- Health care providers say the future of Oklahoma's nursing homes could be in jeopardy. 

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is anticipating a 25-percent cut to Medicaid- a main source of funding for nursing homes across the state. 

If legislators approve these cuts, the Oklahoma Association of Health Care providers estimate 93% of the state"s nursing homes could close. That could leave thousands of Oklahoma"s most vulnerable citizens with nowhere to go. 

"It'd be devastating, really," said resident Hubert Romine. 

You could say Romine spent part of his life building Oklahoma from the ground up. 

A longime veteran of the oil fields, Romine now lives at Arbor Village in Sapulpa. 

"The shape I'm in such as that, I can't take care of myself and that's what this place is for," said Romine. "I like it here. This is my home, this is where I want to be."

Romine along with thousands of Oklahomans, relies on Medicaid  not just for the care he receives, but the very roof over his head. 

"If they take a 25% cut, I'll probably be out on the street," he said. 

In a statement last week, CEO Nico Gomez said, "I worry about the infrastructure of our health care system in light of the cuts."

Local care providers agree. 

"It's very scary. You're talking about job cuts across the board in the tens of thousands and you're talking about a domino effect for the whole industry across the board," said Arbor Village Executive Director, Ernie Johnson.

The Association of Health Care Providers estimates all but 20 facilities in Oklahoma are in trouble and could close.

Johnson says they've been writing letters to legislators ever since. 

They may have to go to other states, they may have to go to substandard places to get care because they have no other places to go," said Johnson. We can't let this happen for them."

Meanwhile, Romine says it's a perfect time for lawmakers to come by and visit.

"If they can't go around places and look and talk to people and talk to people who work there and just experience being there, they might change their mind," he said.

Lawmakers will decide on the cuts in June.

Like education, it could just be the start. 

OHCA also warns- if that money is reduced even more for 2017, even bigger cuts could be required.

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