Senate budget derails Ohio’s Medicaid managed care process


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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A plan to overhaul the Ohio Medicaid managed care system could be rejected.

After two years of input from key stakeholders, the state announced six managed care plans in April, but the Senate-passed budget calls for an overhaul of the managed care procurement process and states that managed care organizations based in Ohio must be taken into account in a meaningful way.

LeeAnn Brooks, chemical addiction counselor for Health Restoration Services in Athens, is concerned about the impact on her patients.

“It’s going to start this whole managed care plan over again,” said Brooks. “And then that’s in turn going to affect southeastern Ohio and the Appalachians, and it’s going to take services away from people in the area as well as others in the state. It’s going to be a bigger one. setback, and it’s going to cost the state more money. ”

It is estimated that over $ 400 million in administrative costs would be wasted by stopping the procurement process.

Supporters of the amendment claim there was not enough transparency in the bidding process for the $ 20 billion in contracts, and they argued that Ohio companies should do subject to special attention.

This week, a budget conference committee will meet. The final budget for the biennium is expected on June 30.

Brooks stressed that the Medicaid program is a crucial tool in helping those affected by the opioid epidemic, many of whom have no other type of insurance. She explained that because addiction is a disease of the brain, it is important that treatment is not interrupted.

“It’s planting a seed with people and letting them know that what they’re doing is really making their lives unmanageable,” said Brooks. “With Medicaid, we can continue these treatment services in the hope of changing behavior, in the hope of getting people to recover.”

One of the current vendors not on the list, Toledo-based Paramount Advantage, complained that out-of-state companies were favored over those headquartered in Ohio. The state replied that the procurement process was competitive and included extensive public awareness.

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