Legislative Updates

(PRESS) The Oklahoma Substance Abuse Services Alliance (OSASA) took the pledged to work with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and state leaders as they seek a solution to the state’s looming healthcare crisis. The cuts to both the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will cause many of our private providers to go out of business leaving many individuals without services across our state.

Our support and action came after OHCA CEO Nico Gomez came and presented the details of the proposed Medicaid Rebalancing Act to mental health and addiction providers.

“Mental health and addictions providers join with other health care professionals from across the state in asking the legislature to take action now,” OSASA Executive Director Julia Jernigan said. “These proposed cuts will reach farther than just those receiving services now through our providers. It will force mental health and addiction providers to reduce services and potentially close their doors, which would devastate those seeking these vital health care services, furthering the burden on healthcare in Oklahoma overall.”

“Legislators need to hear from mental health, addiction and other health care providers about the effects these cuts will have on the individuals that we serve and their facilities,” said OSASA Board Member, Janet Cizek, LPC, LADC. “These cuts will affect all of us.”

Director Nico Gomez has presented a plan, the Oklahoma Medicaid Rebalancing Act of 2020, which is intended to create a new state Medicaid system by utilizing programs that are Oklahoma based such as Insure Oklahoma, which will then allow for some SoonerCare members to move to private insurance and restoring provider rates back to current levels as soon as possible.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has presented a solution for our legislature to act on and we are in full support of this proposal and feel as though this is a bipartisan approach that everyone can get behind.

OSASA encourages mental health and addiction providers from across the state to write to the OHCA, the Governor and their legislators, explaining how the current cuts and the proposed cuts will affect them and the services that they provide. We ask that you also write to tell those in leadership positions why this proposal will be a positive step towards restoring mental health and addiction services across our state.