Health cabinet must iron out managed care wrinkles before lawmakers have to, Burch says

04/11/2012 12:03 PM

The legislature doesn’t need to pass a law requiring managed care companies to pay doctors and hospitals in a timely manner but could revisit it next year, said the Democratic chairman of the House health and welfare committee.

“We have to give them a little bit more time before that happens,” said Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville. “If they can’t do it within a year, then we’ll have to take a look at it.”

Burch said on Pure Politics last week that the state should have used pilot programs to ease into the managed care system and avoid the growing pains experienced by doctors, hospitals and the three managed care organizations hired by the state. (6:45 of the interview). Doctors and pharmacists have complained to lawmakers about the organizations’ timely payment of bills and requirements for pre-authorizations for medical treatment for Medicaid patients.

Meanwhile, Burch said he doesn’t know how the managed care companies’ arrival has affected the workforce at the Health and Family Services cabinet, who no longer are responsible for overseeing day-to-day coverage of the 820,000 Medicaid enrollees.

“I’m hoping either they utilize them in some other way or they fade away in time,” Burch said of cabinet employees formerly assigned to that department (8:15).

Audrey Haynes will take over as Health and Family Services Cabinet secretary from Janie Miller on Monday.

Burch suggested that Haynes first should address morale problems in the department for community based services that oversees social workers.

“There’s a world of wealth in that upper level management, but some of them have been there too long,” he said. (2:50).


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