On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced big news about the state's financially ailing Medicaid program that could affect millions of Alabamians.
“We have an agreement now with federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid services that puts an end to this 15 year dispute.”
After intense negotiations Governor Bob Riley says the resolution to a $500 million debt is a huge achievement to the state.
Medicaid officials in Washington claimed Alabama was overpaid, and the federal government was trying to recoup that half a billion dollars by withholding Medicaid payments to the state.
The center of the dispute was how Alabama calculates its cost of providing healthcare to the poor and disabled.
Now that it is settled, programs like Centering Pregnancy at Baptist South will not be threatened. It provides prenatal care in a group setting to reduce the infant mortality rate.
“Most patients in 24 weeks are experiencing the same problems and it’s nice to be able to talk to someone else so they build a good camaraderie with one another,” said Khai Salaam of the Centering Pregnancy Program.
The agreement negotiated by Riley, hospital leaders and state and federal officials creates a new formula to determine the level of federal funding that goes to the state's Medicaid program.