Health Care Authority

 

The Legislature appropriated $5.7 million additional for FY'00 to cover costs of increased Medicaid enrollment. Since SB 639 (1997) expanded coverage to more low-income children and pregnant women, Medicaid enrollment has increased by nearly 50,000 people, mostly uninsured children. (HB 1523)

New funding of $75,000 was approved to add medical nutrition therapy to Medicaid-covered services. The program is expected to result in cost savings to the health care system as well as improve quality of life for Medicaid clients. Medical nutrition therapy involves registered dieticians providing assessments and follow-up treatment to patients with chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. (HB 1523)

The Legislature approved $530,000 for Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (physician) premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. Federal law requires Medicaid to pay these increases on behalf of eligible low-income seniors and disabled persons. (HB 1523)

Increases in cost and utilization of prescription drugs resulted in appropriation of an additional $1.5 million for the Medicaid vendor drug program. To help stem spiraling prescription costs, the Legislature approved several cost-control measures, including a preferred product initiative and drug therapy management for the most intensive users of medication. (HB 1523)

On July 1, 1999, about 35,000 Medicaid recipients categorized as Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD) will be moved from fee-for-service health coverage into managed care. An additional $790,000 was appropriated to fund outreach and case management for the affected population and to pay costs of expanded services under managed care. (HB 1523)

Funding limitations forced cuts in the Health Care Authority budget. The Subcommittee on Health and Human Services faced a $4 million gap between available resources and increased Medicaid demands due to increased medical costs and an expanding population of eligible recipients. To address the shortfall, the Legislature recommended a lower cap on outpatient mental health services and elimination of Medicaid eligibility for the category of "medically needy" recipients. (HB 1523)

 

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