Director Ed Lake says agency will seek supplemental funding.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, facing a more than $100 million shortfall in its current fiscal year budget, announced $45 million in reductions the agency is beginning to make. DHS warned that supplemental funding will be needed early in the next calendar year for the agency to make it through the fiscal year without serious consequences.
“We have been upfront with legislative leaders all year long about the DHS budget, our increasing costs, and the limitations we face when trying to make reductions,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “It is fiscally impossible to reduce $100 million out of our budget without putting thousands of vulnerable Oklahomans at risk.”
At the end of the legislative session, Lake said there was an agreement and expectation by legislative leaders that DHS would not make cuts to Medicaid programs that provide home-based care to older Oklahomans and persons with disabilities; however, there was also an expectation that DHS request supplemental funding to help bridge the significant budget gap that would result. Lake said even with the $45 million in budget reductions, by Spring of 2017 the agency may not have the ability to make payroll or pay contractors that provide direct care to the thousands of Oklahomans the agency serves.
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