Ky. gov. calls for special session to address Medicaid gap

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has issued a call for a special session to begin on Monday, March 14 to address a gap in the Medicaid budget.

Beshear says the gap will cause at least 30 percent rate cuts to Medicaid providers, such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, pharmacists and mental health providers.

The Senate decided Wednesday to end this year's legislative session 12 days earlier than scheduled, saying it will save taxpayers $800,000 that would have been used for lawmakers' wages and expenses.

The House and Senate have been in discussions for three days to try to reach an accord on Gov. Beshear's proposal to balance the Medicaid budget by using $166.5 million from next year's appropriation. Senate Republicans want across-the-board cuts to all government programs to fill the gap.

Noting that the state must prepare for the possibility of the General Assembly not reaching an agreement, Gov. Beshear announced Wednesday that, as required by the federal law, public notices are being drafted to notify Medicaid health care providers that reimbursement rates will be cut beginning April 1, 2011 in amounts necessary to cover the shortfall in the Medicaid budget in FY2011.

The amount of the necessary cuts by service provider type is being calculated and the notices will be issued by the end of this week.

The call for the special session, which is to begin on Monday, March 14, also includes the Graduation Bill, which raises the legal dropout age to 18, and enhances alternative education programs to assist students who may be at risk of dropping out.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.