Court says it is inclined to grant injunction over Medicaid cuts

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An Alaska Superior Court judge wrote that the Department of Health and Social Services likely did not face an emergency when it cut payments to Medicaid providers in late June.

In the case, brought by the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, DHSS said that when it issued a Finding of Emergency on June 28, the same day as Gov. Dunleavy's vetoed $58 million from state Medicaid funding, the department already had had the opportunity to plan for the cuts.

The judge wrote that DHSS should not have had to declare and emergency, because it had known about the cuts for months. The judge in the case wrote that for an event to be considered an emergency, it must be a “sudden, unusual and unpredictable event.”

The order says that the decision to declare emergency “may be one of convenience, rather than necessity” as it allowed DHSS to cut Medicaid payment rates by about 5% and to end increases for inflation over a weekend.

Judge Jennifer Henderson gave both parties until Sept. 6 to submit more evidence.

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