Tuesday, February 16, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin has rejected permanent state mental health rules that would have prohibited paying independent counselors and therapists in private practice to treat Oklahoma children covered by SoonerCare.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services had proposed the rule change to achieve a necessary budget cut, caused by the recent revenue failure in state government. The agency’s proposed rules supposedly would not have prevented or delayed children from getting the therapy they need because the rules would not have affected any reimbursement for licensed behavioral practitioners who work at agencies.
“These rules, if adopted, would have effectively barred independent licensed behavioral health practitioners from providing mental health services to children who are SoonerCare members,” said Fallin.
An analysis by the governor’s office showed the rules would not save money for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
“There are no cost savings to be realized if thousands of children simply switch providers,” Fallin said. “There are, however, the very real possibilities of delayed access and duplicative services having to be performed while practitioners become familiar with new clients. This also would have caused unnecessary trauma for foster children who may have to recount histories of physical and/or sexual abuse to new therapists, and try to establish trust in yet another adult authority figure.”
To view a copy of the governor’s notification, click here.