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Texan law makers have just rolled out their proposal for the Lone star state’s budget for the next 2 years, and it ain’t pretty!

The long and short of it is this, Texas providers have had payments reduced in 2010, 2012, and 2014 and now for 2016 and 2017 we are looking at almost $350 million in Medicaid funding to be cut.  Not only is it the biggest cut to funding in over a decade bu
t it will be effectively cutting funding to the most vulnerable in society, young children and the elderly.

These therapy services typically helps children with genetic disorders, birth defects, physical or cognitive disabilities as well as those born prematurely, so that they may function in daily life. For seniors and adults, the therapy can help in recovery from a broken hip or with progressive diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Many studies have proven that early intervention produce cost savings, so this move is not particularly well thought-out and likely to be very harmful not only to vulnerable Texans in need of care, but potentially to the State itself!

The impact of the Alberto N. v. Don Gilbert lawsuit settlement has been one of the most significant in determining legal cases regarding how therapy and other related benefits are delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries under the age of 21.  However this proposed cut is in direct contradiction to this ruling, meaning an increase in litigation (and therefore expenses) to the state!

However, the Health and Human Services Commission and Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson’s office said the reduction was proposed because the rates paid in Texas are in fact higher than in other states or those paid by private insurance plans and Medicare.  They also added that “These therapies are needed and very important to those who rely on them. Members felt strongly that we make sure we are paying fair rates that are in line with other states.”

Linda Edwards Gockel of the HHSC (Health and Human Services Commission) commented that they are “not concerned” and don’t think the move will reduce access to care in Texas.  She also added that the number of therapy providers in Texas Medicaid grew by 30 percent between 2009 and 2014.

Time will tell…