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Kentucky lawmakers again asked to change the state's Medicaid managed care offerings


A legislative effort is once again underway to reduce the number of Medicaid managed care organizations contracting with state government. Leitchfield Senator Stephen Meredith told committee members this is his seventh attempt at limiting MCO contracts to three. Currently six Medicaid managed care groups work with providers. Meredith said the change would create administrative savings.

“For any healthcare provider in the rural area there’s tremendous overhead to keep up with the managed care organization’s rules and regulations and billing practices. It can have a traumatic impact on reducing that expense,” said Meredith.

Meredith says, in turn, it would open up access to care because physicians wouldn’t be spending as much time trying to get bills paid. The bill won unanimous committee approval. Asked why the bill hasn’t passed in six previous attempts, Meredith said insurance companies have a strong lobby.

The measure won bipartisan support from the Health Services Committee. Louisville Senator Karen Berg says many doctors are frustrated with the current format.

“The administrative burden placed on our healthcare providers at this point not only cost us dollars that should be sent to direct patient ca, but they contribute to the lack of providers, to the burnout,” said Berg.

Berg, a physician with the University of Louisville, said private equity companies are buying out medical practices. She said that’s a threat to the medical profession because it amounts to another chain of profits in the system that doesn’t go toward healthcare delivery. Efforts to reach representatives within the health insurance industry proved unsuccessful.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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