Three companies chosen to play key roles in Louisiana’s new health-care delivery system for the poor have gone to court to block release of proprietary information in their winning proposals.
Lawsuits were filed in 19th Judicial District Court by Louisiana Healthcare Connection Inc., AmeriGroup Louisiana Inc. and United Healthcare of Louisiana Inc.
The private insurance companies oppose the state Department of Health and Hospitals’ plan to release the full, unredacted proposals they submitted as they competed for some $2.2 billion in state Medicaid program business.
“Our argument is we are transparent and we want the public to know what we have,” said Steve Russo, general counsel for state Department of Health and Hospitals.
Attorneys for the insurance companies argue in papers filed Monday that some of the information should be off-limits to the public and competitors.
“The law protects our proprietary and trade secret information,” said attorney Brent Hicks, who represents United Healthcare.
Hicks said the firm’s request came after an unsuccessful competitor filed a public records request seeking its complete filing.
Medicaid is the government’s health insurance program for the poor. The new program would serve about 875,000 of the state’s 1.2 million in Medicaid recipients — most of them children.
Twelve entities vied for the business. The three firms filing suit are among the five awarded the contracts.
The firms would run coordinated-care networks, which emphasize preventive and primary care.
The firms must form networks of providers that include physicians, hospitals and other health-care resources. The idea is to cut cost and improve Medicaid recipients health through better coordination of care and use of medical best practices.
DHH’s request for proposal made it clear that the agency wanted to release all information submitted by potential contractors, DHH chief of staff J.T. Lane said.
Lane quoted from the document, which states: “Proposers should be prepared to defend the reasons why the material should be held confidential.”
The document further states: “If the owner of the asserted data does not want the information disclosed, it must take legal action as necessary to restrain DHH from releasing information DHH believes to be public record.”
Russo said DHH has received public records requests “from all the losers.”
He said the agency has notified the winning proposers that “by ‘X’ date they needed to have a court order to stop us from releasing this.”
Judge Todd Hernandez, of the 19th Judicial District court in Baton Rouge, granted injunctions in two of the cases. Judge Michael Caldwell, of the 19th Judicial District court in Baton Rouge, granted an injunction in the other case.
Hearings on the issue of a preliminary and potentially permanent injunction barring the information’s release are scheduled for next week, Russo said.