Children, Families, Health, & Human Services Interim Committee

Committee Objection Delays Provider Rate Cuts

Committee: Children, Families, Health, & Human Services Interim Committee
Author: Sue O'Connell
Posted on October 4, 2017

image of a an explanation of benefits for an insurance claim

The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee has delayed the adoption of administrative rules that would have reduced the rates paid to health care and human services providers.

Members voted at their September meeting to continue their informal objection to the rules. They also asked that the committee attorney draft a formal objection for consideration in November.

The committee also began work on two of its assigned studies and began its review of the expansion of the state Medicaid program during its September meeting.

The action on the administrative rules came after the committee took two hours of public comment from providers and individuals who would be affected by the proposed rate reductions.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services rules would have cut reimbursement rates for most Medicaid services and some non-Medicaid services by about 3.5 percent, starting on October 1. However, the committee's action prevented the department from adopting the rules.

The committee must decide at each of its future meetings whether to continue the informal objection. If it does so, the department cannot adopt the rules for up to six months from the time they were proposed this summer. If the committee decides to file a formal objection, the department may not adopt the rules before the end of the 2019 Legislature unless the committee withdraws its objection or the rules are changed so that they comply with the committee's objections and concerns.

In other action, the committee:

  • heard from Deborah Bacharach of Manatt Health about the ways in which different congressional bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would have changed the process for allocating Medicaid funding to the states and how those changes could impact Montana's program;
  • began its House Joint Resolution 24 study of community services for developmentally disabled adults by learning about the scope of services that are provided, the number of people receiving services, the number of people waiting for services, and the system used for determining the types and amount of services each individual needs;
  • received information about the costs of prescription drugs for the state employee and Montana University System health plans, for inmates in state correctional facilities, and for individuals in the Medicaid and Healthy Montana Kids Plan, as part of its HJR 17 study of prescription drug prices;
  • heard updates from DPHHS on several topics, including the increased number of children in foster care and steps the agency is taking to improve child protective services; and
  • adopted a work plan for the interim.

Next Meeting

The committee's next meeting will be November 17 in Room 137 of the Capitol in Helena. For more information about the meeting or the committee's activities, visit the committee's website or contact Sue O'Connell, committee staff.

Committee Website:
Committee Staff: or 406-444-3597