Lankford Wants to Protect Oklahomans from Flashy Health Plans That Don’t Actually Offer the Coverage Promised

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on Rumble.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled, “Barriers to Mental Health Care: Improving Provider Directory Accuracy to Reduce the Prevalence of Ghost Networks,” to discuss some of the issues with mental health care delivery and access to in-network coverage that meets patient needs..

Lankford remains a strong advocate for addressing health care access deficiencies in rural Oklahoma and around the nation. Lankford introduced the bipartisan Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act, which would support financially vulnerable rural hospitals facing risk of closure, and he announced a huge win late last year for rural hospital access in Oklahoma and around the nation after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) rule. The rule, among other things, redefined a “primary” road for purposes of establishing the distance a hospital must be from another hospital to receive CMS’ Critical Access Hospital (CAH)—or now a Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) status.

Witnesses at today’s hearing included Keris Jän Myrick of Inseparable; Jack Resneck Jr., MD, of the American Medical Association; Robert L. Trestman, Ph.D., MD of the Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; Mary Giliberti, JD of Mental Health America; and Jeff Rideout, MD, of the Integrated Healthcare Association. Lankford asked how we make sure health plans, including Medicare Advantage plans, actually meet CMS standards to ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to accurate information about their provider network.


Lankford: …It’s a big issue for us in rural Oklahoma that there’ll be companies that will put out a plan and that everyone looks at it, selects a plan, then they get into that plan in January and find out it’s not real, and they can’t go anywhere. Or if they go anywhere, they’re going to have to be able to drive 150 miles to be able to get to someone. They assumed the people that were listed locally actually existed and accepted the process…