April 19, 2012 — Texas Medicaid officials have asked the federal government to extend the deadline by which federal funding ends for the state's Medicaid Women's Health Program, according to documents released Tuesday, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. A CMS spokesperson said the agency is reviewing the request to shift the end of funding from September to November.
The program, which receives 90% of its funding from the federal government, provides low-income women with family planning and other preventive health services. The federal government decided to cut off funding for the program because federal law guarantees women covered by the Medicaid program the right to choose their own health care providers, and a Texas passed a law that bars participation by Planned Parenthood and other organizations affiliated with abortion providers (Tomlinson, AP/Yahoo! News, 4/17).
Billy Millwee, the state's Medicaid director, said Texas will continue with the current program through the end of October before launching a state-funded program. According to Millwee, about 3% of providers will become ineligible when the state starts enforcing the law on May 1 (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/17).
Millwee on Tuesday said the state will reach out to women enrolled in the program and help them find new health care providers. The state also intends to recruit more doctors and clinics to join the program through community outreach and in-person visits.
State officials said the new rules governing clinics will take 143 days to be fully implemented; the public will be able to comment on the new rules between June 18 and July 30. The new rules will take effect Sept. 1, and the state will fully fund the program beginning Nov. 1 (AP/Yahoo!News, 4/17).