Opportunities for Comment on Proposed Medicaid Budget Cuts
As previously reported in the Maine Medicine Weekly Update, the Baldacci Administration is proposing a series of initiatives designed to achieve approximately $7.5 million in savings in the Medicaid budget in FY 2004. The savings will come from reductions in services or reimbursement, not from changes in eligibility for the program.
Because Baldacci Administration officials are appropriately concerned about continued access to physician services, they have avoided proposing direct reductions in physician reimbursement. Still, MMA has concerns about all of the proposed cuts in health care and mental health care services and have heard from physicians about the restrictions on certain elective surgeries and cuts for Rural Health Clinics and Federally-Qualified Health Centers in particular.
Physicians have opportunities in the next two weeks to express their views on the proposals. First, the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Medical Services must promulgate emergency rules to carry out these cuts. As part of the rulemaking process, the Bureau will hold a public hearing beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 8, 2004 at the BMS Office, 442 Civic Center Drive, Augusta, Maine.
A summary of the hearing agenda follows:
8:30 - 9:00 General comments
9:00 - 10:30 Acute & preventive care & related services*
10:30 - 12:00 Pharmacy & DME
1:00 - 2:30 Behavioral health services
2:30 - 3:30 Children's services
3:30 - 4:30 Long-term care
4:30 - 5:00 General comments
*MMA has heard the most from physicians about the proposals in this category: elimination of certain reimbursement enhancements for FQHCs & RHCs, discontinued coverage of certain elective surgeries such as gastric bypass, newborn circumcision, & rhinoplasty, & limits on hospital discharges & outpatient visits.
You may view the detailed agenda at the BMS web site, http://www.state.me.us/bms/rulemaking/budget_initiatives.pdf.
If you do not wish to attend the hearing, but would like to submit written comments, you have two options. You can send your comments to Gordon Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Andrew MacLean, email@example.com, for inclusion in the MMA's comments. Or, you may send your comments directly to Marianne Ringel, Bureau of Medical Services, State House Station 11, Augusta, Maine 04333-0011. The written comment deadline is January 12, 2004.
The second opportunity for comment will come at joint public hearings held by the Legislature's Appropriations & HHS Committees on January 14, 15, & 16, 2004 in Room 228 (the Appropriations Committee room) at the State House. MMA will alert you to the agenda for these 3 days when it becomes available. [return to top]