North Texas

Texas Health Commission denies Cook Children’s Medical Center’s request for Medicaid coverage

Fort Worth, Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has denied a request from Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth to stay in the state Medicaid program. This decision was confirmed after a June 4 public hearing where Kay Molina, the deputy executive commissioner, indicated that a final decision would be announced later that week.

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“This procurement process has been flawed from the beginning and we will pursue every legal option available, including filing an immediate appeal,” a Cook Children’s spokesperson said in a statement. “We are confident in the strength of our case and believe we will prevail.”

Should this decision stand, the Cook Children’s Health Plan, along with the Driscoll Health Plan in South Texas and the Texas Children’s Health Plan in Houston, will be excluded from the STAR and CHIP programs as of September 2025. The STAR program provides coverage for pregnant women and low-income children, while CHIP offers healthcare to children in families that earn too much for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.

The Cook Children’s Health Plan was established in 2000 and serves families in the Tarrant County area who are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.

Last week, a group of bipartisan state legislators from Tarrant County wrote to Cecile Young, the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, voicing their concerns about potential loss of health coverage for local residents. They requested that the Texas Health and Human Services delay the finalization of new contract awards until the state legislature convenes in January 2025.

“The decision to potentially exclude Cook Children’s will disrupt essential health care services to our community’s most vulnerable populations,” the lawmakers wrote.

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Cook Children’s initially protested on March 21, arguing that the state’s changes to the scoring system were not transparent. The medical center’s next step is a direct appeal to Commissioner Young. If the current decision is maintained, approximately 125,000 families and children in Tarrant County will need to seek new health insurance providers.

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