State agencies face possible loss of $37 million in federal money

By: From Wire Reports
By: From Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Two state agencies likely soon will lose $37 million in federal money, which officials say will result in fewer child welfare services and less assistance for Oklahomans who are developmentally disabled.

The cuts will affect the state Department of Human Service and the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the cuts are a result of a federal deficit-reduction law passed in 2005.

Congress passed an emergency rule change to Medicaid policy in December that prohibits state employees from being paid with federal Medicaid dollars because they are performing state-level functions.

As a result, DHS will lose about $34 million that has gone toward child welfare and developmental disability services.

DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell says the agency's director, Howard Hendrick, plans to write a letter to protest the Medicaid rule change.

Meanwhile, OJA will lose about $3 million it has used to supplement case management of juvenile offenders.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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