Three influential hospital and physician groups argued Wednesday that proposals submitted by companies that would implement the Jindal administration’s new health-care delivery system for the poor should be public record.
The Louisiana State Medical Society, Louisiana Hospital Association and Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans said in a news release that “transparency and accountability” should be key as the state moves to turn over $2.2 billion of its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor to private companies.
Nothing should be omitted from the proposals as three of the companies awarded some of the business are seeking to do, officials of the groups said.
Three of the winners — Louisiana Healthcare Connections, AmeriGroup Louisiana Inc., and United Healthcare of Louisiana Inc. — filed a suit in 19th Judicial District Court claiming some of the information is “proprietary” and should be kept under seal. A hearing on is scheduled to continue Friday in state District Judge Todd Hernandez’ court in Baton Rouge.
“This is a huge transition. If they are going to save the state money and at the same time improve (patient) health outcomes, we all need to know how they intend to do that,” said Jeff Williams, executive vice president of the Medical Society.
The Medical Society is a voluntary association of physicians located in Baton Rouge.
Williams said the companies knew when they submitted proposals that the state expected information to be available to the public. Louisiana physicians fear what’s coming and how it will affect patients, Williams said. “It’s an unknown to them.
“Without transparency there’s going to be more fear and concern and chaos on the part of physicians,” Williams said.
Louisiana Hospital Association president John Matessino said Gov. Bobby Jindal and state Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein promote transparency in health care with more information available to patients as well as providers.
“We just feel like that if these companies are going to be getting millions of our tax dollars, then everybody ought to be able to see what’s going on,” said Matessino, whose Baton Rouge-based not-for-profit association represents all types of hospitals and health-care systems.
“This is not a private business here,” Matessino said. “This is tax dollars we are talking about. We just think there ought to be an air of transparency on everything that goes on.”
The program, involving the creation of Coordinated Care Networks, will provide for the health-care needs of two-thirds of Louisiana’s 1.2 million Medicaid recipients — most of them children.
Companies form networks of general practice physicians, specialists, medical clinics, hospitals and other providers that will provide for the health-care needs of those who enroll with them. The state will pay companies an insurance premium for each recipient or in some cases pay on a fee-for-service basis.