AL Medicaid Announces Reimbursement Cut, FDA Shuts Down Daphne Seafood Operation

Jul 7, 2016

Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar
Credit Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama’s Medicaid program has announced its first real-world impact of the state budget cuts.

The program announced yesterday that it would no longer offer enhanced reimbursement payments for primary care doctors starting next month. The enhanced payments, commonly referred to as the “primary care bump”, brought Medicaid reimbursement up to the level offered by Medicare for certain health providers. It was designed to get more doctors to accept and treat Medicaid patients.

State Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar calls the decision a “difficult, but necessary cut due to the budget crisis the Medicaid Agency is facing.”

Earlier this year, Alabama lawmakers approved a budget that, according to Azar and Governor Robert Bentley, was $85 million short of the amount needed to fully fund Medicaid.

Ending the primary care bump is expected to save the agency nearly $15 million. Officials say more cuts are coming.

Federal court officials say an Alabama seafood company has agreed to stop processing fish. APR’s Stan Ingold reports the action is due to complaints raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. District Court officials say that the permanent injunction is aimed at preventing distribution of the products by BEK Catering LLC, which does business as Floppers Foods LLC of Daphne, Alabama, and its co-owners.

A federal complaint alleges that BEK Catering, which prepared and distributed seafood soups sold under the names Shrimp Locksley and Mama's Gumbo, caused food to become "adulterated" and misbranded.

Federal authorities say the FDA found unsanitary conditions during multiple inspections of the company's facilities. They say those conditions could cause illness for consumers.

Alabamians will have the opportunity to pay their respects to fallen Vietnam veterans.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is delivering a large traveling Vietnam Wall memorial to Fultondale for a five-day event. Kevin Weatherly is the CEO of American Veterans Traveling Tribute. He says the monument is an 80 percent scale replica of the wall in Washington D.C.

“It’s always an atmosphere of-of respect and solace and appreciation. It’s very humbling to stand before that wall with all those names on it. They all died in the name of freedom and-and defense of what we believe in as a country.”

Those who wish to visit the monument may do so today through July 10th at the Fultondale Promenade at Lowery Parkway.

Alabama has signed on to a 13-state coalition led by Texas in a lawsuit challenging the legality of a recent directive about transgender students in public schools.

In a court pleading filed yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the Obama administration’s directive pending a final judgment in the lawsuit.

The coalition is challenging the directive to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, or risk losing federal Title IX funding. The group includes Alabama alongside Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, Utah, Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia. Conservative-led states have vowed defiance since the Justice Department handed down the guidance.

The parties are seeking a hearing on the injunction motion in early August.