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9:40 am
Thu April 15, 2010

Budget Cuts Ahead

Oklahoma City, OK – Human services agencies brace for budget cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Directors of several of Oklahoma's human services agencies say pending budget cuts will lead to more elderly people in nursing homes, fewer meals for hungry people and deep cuts to Medicaid providers.

Agency heads testified Wednesday before a Senate budget panel that oversees health and human services agencies. Directors were told to brief the subcommittee on how cuts ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent would affect their agencies.

The Legislature has about $1.2 billion less to spend this year than last year. Even after using federal stimulus funds and money from the state's Rainy Day Fund, lawmakers still are facing a shortfall of about $500 million.

Department of Human Services Director Howard Hendrick says cuts to the Advantage Waiver program could lead to 5,600 homebound seniors moving into nursing homes.