Millman Holds Roundtable to Discuss Plagued Medicaid Reimbursement System

November 13, 2008
New York, NY – Last week, Assemblymembers Joan L. Millman and Richard N. Gottfried hosted a roundtable discussion to assess measures taken to solve the plagued New York State Department of Health (DOH) prior approval process for reimbursing Medicaid recipients for durable medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs with customized lap trays, foot pedals and head rests.

Also participating in the forum were Assemblymember Micah Kellner, advocates for the disabled community, representatives of durable medical equipment companies and representatives from the DOH. The forum was an invaluable opportunity for the DOH to hear feedback from vendors and clinicians.

Under the prior approval process, many Medicaid recipients have suffered, sometimes waiting up to two years for DOH approval of certain medical devices. In addition, dual-eligibles, those who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare, must navigate an even more complicated reimbursement system. The purpose of the roundtable discussion was both to acknowledge DOH’s improvements to the system and to tackle ongoing or new problems.

“The goal of this forum was to take stock of reforms to this system and identify any further problems,” said Millman. “As Chair of the Assembly’s Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee, I demanded that the Department of Health report back to us within sixty days with revised procedures. While I know that this represents a small amount of money in comparison to the state’s entire Medicaid budget, I am deeply concerned when a person with disabilities is unable to get the tools they need to live as independently as possible.”