Kentucky Health Official Fields Medicaid Questions In Owensboro

Aug 3, 2018

Credit Chris Light / Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky Medicaid stakeholders were able to ask questions to the state's second-highest-ranking health official in Owensboro Thursday afternoon. It was the first of these public meetings after a judge blocked Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver program in June.

Officials with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) planned to travel across the state every month to explain changes to its Medicaid program, but they cancelled their July meeting after a judge sent the waiver back to the federal government for review.

“We didn’t want to provide incorrect information. We didn’t have enough to update so we waited until this month and we had more information,” said Kristi Putnam, CHFS deputy secretary and manager of the waiver program, Kentucky HEALTH.

She said Thursday’s meeting in Owensboro was business as usual despite the program's uncertain future.

"We had a lot of the same questions. You know we wanted to walk through the legal decision information right up front," she said. "This was pretty typical of one of our sessions."

She said her office was disappointed by the judge’s decision, but she is optimistic that the program will be reapproved.

As is, it will require some recipients to work 20 hours a week. Volunteering and school enrollment can also fulfill this community engagement requirement. The judge blocked the program on the grounds that provisions like this would lead to a decrease in health coverage.