Minnesota: Medicaid cuts defeated

Friday, February 21, 2014

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Medicaid in February reversed a decision that would have taken 2% of nearly every Medicaid dollar paid to HME providers during the federal sequestration period.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) in late December had announced that the state must apply the 2% sequestration cut to Medicare payments to Medicaid payments from April 1, 2013, to April 1, 2014, to comply with state law.

In response, the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) hired attorney Sam Orbovich, who has experience with state and federal laws governing health care, to help them fight the cuts. Orbovich delivered a letter Jan. 23 on behalf of MAMES members to state health officials requesting that DHS undertake several actions to confirm that the sequestration under the act does not extend to Medicaid.

That letter turned the tide, announced MAMES Executive Director Rose Schafhauser Feb. 5.

“This is a tremendous win for MAMES members, our industry and other health care entities in the state of Minnesota,” Schafhauser stated. “MAMES is very proud of the efforts of several of our MAMES Minnesota members, along with attorney Sam Orbovich, in acting quickly to help us reverse this devastating reduction.”

The state had already started deducting 2% from HME claims as of December 2013; DHS announced in February it would soon begin reprocessing those claims.

Providers say the 2% cut would have been devastating.

“It adds up—and we’ve already had so many cuts,” said Chris Limbeck, owner of Bloomington, Minn.-based Metro Medical. “The cost of goods, the cost of shipping, the cost of gas—all my overhead keeps going up, and reimbursement keeps going down.”