11:06pm

Thu June 9, 2011
Statehouse News

Medicaid Managed Care Coming

Statewide Medicaid managed care is coming to Kentucky, but maybe not as fast as some lawmakers thought. Gov. Steve Beshear says the state can save millions of dollars by letting private health care organizations manage services for the state's 820,000 Medicaid recipients. Acting Medicaid Commissioner Neville Wise says proposals from interested organizations are under evaluation.

"Once the details of the negotiation are complete and we have signed contracts, obviously, there's a whole lot of what we can describe at that point of how everything's going to work," said Wise.

Some lawmakers were under the impression statewide Medicaid managed care would begin on July 1st, the start of the state's new fiscal year, but Wise could not make that guarantee. He says July 1st is the target date for contract signatures, with the state aiming to begin managed care "as soon as we can."

READINESS QUESTIONS

Some lawmakers aren't convinced the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is ready for the transition to managed care. Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, points to a report by the staff of a legislative oversight committee he chairs.

"Many have expressed concerns that the cabinet is unprepared to take on the task of converting from fee-for-service to managed care," said Higdon. "Whether it be inadequate administrative and financial oversight or basic lack of understanding of the program itself, many questions remain in our minds."

UNFOUNDED FEARS

Cabinet officials say the fears are unfounded and they're prepared for the transition. Acting Medicaid Commissioner Neville Wise says July 1st is the target date for signing contracts with interested organizations.

"The bids are for a comprehensive managed care organization," said Wise. "It's not parsed out by the cabinet to pharmacy providers, dental providers. It's a comprehensive RFP that was put out there."

Gov. Beshear predicts managed care for Medicaid recipients will save the state millions of dollars. The current state budget, which Beshear approved after vetoing language he didn't like, depends on the projected savings.