Oklahoma governor gets bill that would hike Medicaid rates for providers who invest in staffing

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Medicaid payments to nursing homes in Oklahoma would rise under a bill passed unanimously by the state senate last week -- if the facilities use additional funds for staffing.

Increased payments would begin at the start of 2005 under bill SB 1622, according to the Daily Oklahoman. Facilities that put a higher percentage of their revenue toward nursing staff would be eligible for the increased funding.

The measure is supported by an array of interests, including nursing home organizations, the state attorney general, AARP and nurses' groups. Some call it a "fundamental" change in focus for providers, while others say it would bring about "greater accountability."

Gov. Brad Henry (D) had not reviewed the bill nor taken a position on it as of Friday, according to his communications director, the Daily Oklahoman said.