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Thousands of Disabled Texas Medicaid Recipients to Lose Access to Care

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-11-24 (Revised/Updated 2013-03-23) - Medicaid recipients including many people with disabilities set to lose access to care if Texas Health and Human Services Commission implements proposed rate cuts for therapy services - Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.
Medicaid - Medicaid pays for health care and long-term care services for people who might not be able to pay for it themselves. You might be able to get Medicaid in Texas if: You have a low income AND You or a family member is in a group that Medicaid covers. Some of the main groups Medicaid covers are: Children, Pregnant women, People age 65 and older, People with disabilities.

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Medicaid recipients in Texas, including more than 510,000 people with disabilities, are set to lose access to care if the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) implements proposed rate cuts for therapy services.

The HHSC has proposed an across the board average cut to therapy services of 52%.

The proposed reimbursement rates pay the therapist much less than the actual cost of the service; as a result, many therapists will be forced to stop accepting many or all Medicaid patients or close their practices completely. The cuts will impact people receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy, including children receiving early childhood services for developmental delays.

Thousands of Texans who rely on therapy services provided by Medicaid will be left without access to care as a result of the drastic rate reduction. This will inevitably put patients at risk and greatly increase the cost of care by forcing patients to utilize more expensive forms for care such as emergency rooms and hospitals, only increasing an already critical problem.

Therapy services are an integral part of helping Texans with disabilities build and maintain their independence.

"Therapists are dedicated to helping their patients reach their potential by working closely to help them obtain optimal function. They are deeply concerned that the patients will regress if they cannot access therapy services," explained Dennis Borel, the Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD).

Therapy services under Medicaid have received a series of rate reductions over the past 15 months - two one percent rate reductions impacting all service delivery models and one five percent rate reduction impacting non-home-based services.

Providers are still adapting to the recent September reductions; however, many took solace in the fact that the Appropriations Act made it clear that no further cuts would be made to therapy services during this biennium.

"The HHSC is ignoring the clear intent from the Texas Legislature, basing the cuts on a separate legislative directive to review rates every biennium. Providers of therapy services under Medicaid simply cannot take another cut," said Chase Bearden, Director of Advocacy for CTD.

Hundreds traveled to a November 21 hearing in Austin. "Medicaid recipients, as well as those concerned, should contact their state legislators and let them know that the proposed Medicaid reductions for therapy services cannot and must not happen," said Chase Bearden.

About the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities: In 1978 a diverse group of disability advocates met in Houston with the goal of forming a statewide consumer-run disability advocacy organization. These visionary Texans recognized that it was important for people with disabilities to have their own cross disability organization, a coalition that would work to break down the barriers to full inclusion in all aspects of society.

Over the years, The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) has established a proven track record of success and continues to positively influence policy and practice for the benefit of Texans with disabilities.

Thirty three years after its inception, CTD continues to work hard to ensure that people with disabilities may live, work, learn, play, vote and participate fully in the community of their choice.

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