Medicaid waiver expiration could impact East Texas healthcare services

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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Hospitals and mental health services statewide, and particularly here in Deep East Texas, stand to lose a whole lot of money. So much that it would impact the service patients receive according to Melanie Taylor, Burke CEO.

Medicaid waiver expiration could impact East Texas healthcare services

Healthcare providers don’t want to lose the money that pays the bills which uninsured patients can’t.

Taylor and colleagues across the state stand to lose millions of dollars in federal funding.

“When everyone got the notification on a Friday afternoon, Taylor said, “It was just a collective gasp of, ‘oh no’.”

The news was the Medicaid 1115 waiver was rescinded. It’s the safety net to pay for the care of uninsured Texans. The state repeatedly refuses to expand Medicaid.

“Mental health care in Texas stands to lose about $300 million a year. Burke stands to lose $6-million a year.”

The Biden administration rescinded the Obama created waiver in Texas due to a reporting error in the Trump administration. Observers report the decision was to convince Texas to expand Medicaid.

“Yes, there is a lot of speculation that it had more to do with try to force our hand,” said Taylor.

Taylor knows there is actually bipartisan conversation among state legislators to expand Medicaid. Also, federal authorities are considering extending the waiver another year. But Taylor must be ready should the funding go away as soon as September.

“We can operate but we will have waiting lists. We will have people that will go unserved just because there is not enough funding. That’s huge. It’s huge.”

Seventy percent of the adults Burke serves are uninsured.

Rural hospitals could lose billions of dollars.

CEO of Tyler County Hospital in Woodville stated in an e-mail,

“The rescinding of the Medicaid 1115 waiver is certainly a concern for the rural healthcare delivery system.,” said Sondra Williams, CEO of Tyler County Hospital in Woodville. “Healthcare that normally would be available in rural communities will be in financial jeopardy, including access to emergency departments that provide life saving measures.

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