Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Department of Human Services received a $34 million increase in appropriations for state fiscal year 2019 in the state budget signed by Governor Fallin earlier this week. The increase in appropriations, along with an expected increase in the state’s federal matching dollars for Medicaid programs (FMAP), will allow the agency to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities on the waiting list, increase provider and foster parent reimbursement rates, and provide employees agency-wide with pay raises.
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Fallin and the Legislature for this increase which will allow us to restore some detrimental cuts and provide increases to foster and adoptive families, child care providers, and agencies serving children in our custody and seniors and people with developmental disabilities,” said Ed Lake, Director of DHS. “We appreciate the advocacy efforts of the people and families we serve as well as our partner agencies. Their diligence in telling their stories helped ensure the needs of vulnerable Oklahomans were not forgotten this year.”
The increase in appropriations will be used for the following:
- Restore the five percent (5%) rate cuts to foster care and adoption payments made in 2017 due to the budget shortfall. Rates will be increased an additional five percent (5%), including therapeutic foster care.
- Provide agency-wide employee pay raises according to provisions previously passed in House Bill 1024. Increase the salaries of Child Welfare Specialists to fulfill the obligations of year five of the Pinnacle Plan.
- Dedicate $2M for services to persons with developmental disabilities on the waiting list. DHS estimates it will be able to serve approximately 200 individuals who have been waiting the longest for Medicaid home and community-based services.
- Increase provider rates for child welfare contract group homes by seven percent (7%).
- Increase provider rates in the Advantage Medicaid waiver program for direct care, state plan personal care, and case management by seven percent (7%). Increase provider rates in all Developmental Disabilities Services Medicaid waiver programs and state-funded services by seven percent (7%). This restores the three and a half percent (3.5%) reductions made to rates in September 2015 due to revenue failures and budget cuts, and provides for an additional three and a half percent (3.5%) increase to the rates.
- Increase child care subsidy reimbursement rates. DHS is currently evaluating research on market rates and will announce the amount of child care provider rate increases in the coming weeks.
- $100,000.00 will be used to implement and maintain a program to provide respite for caregivers of persons with intellectual disabilities who qualify for Medicaid and meet the Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with Intellectual Disability (ICF/ID) level of care. DHS will apply for a new Medicaid waiver with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to maximize funding for the respite services. This respite program will be used to support caregivers who are on the waiting list for home and community-based services.
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