As the Jindal administration prepares to launch its new health-care system for the poor, state health officials have chosen two companies to help implement it.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals announced its intent to award:

• A $9.45 million, three-year contract to MAXIMUS Health Services to be the program’s enrollment broker. The broker would help Medicaid recipients sign up with the new privately operated managed care plans.

• A $1.7 million, 18-month contract with Wright Feigley Communications, of Baton Rouge, for education and outreach activities. The firm will be charged with informing recipients about the new direction Medicaid is taking and how it affects them.

The two contractors will play key roles as the state implements “coordinated care networks.”

Under the plan being pushed by the Jindal administration, insurers or third-party entities, develop health-care networks of physicians, hospitals and others to provide patient care under either a pre-paid or shared-risk model.

Twelve entities — mostly insurance companies — submitted proposals seeking the contracts. DHH is scheduled to announce its selections Monday.

The CCNs are scheduled to be operational statewide by May 1. A phase-in begins in the New Orleans area on Jan. 1.

“Everything is running exactly on schedule. It’s like the Swiss train schedule right now,” DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein said.

It’s the state’s first foray into turning over part of its $6.7 billion Medicaid program to private insurance companies with taxpayers paying premiums for those enrolled.

Critics have argued that the program diverts health-care dollars into insurance company profits.

The managed-care program would cover two-thirds of the state’s 1.2 million Medicaid recipients — mainly children. Its emphasis would be on preventive and primary care.

MAXIMUS will help people determine which type of management plan best meets their needs and inform them which networks include their physicians.

The firm will also operate a call-center to help Medicaid recipients in dealings with their CCN and sample provider practices to verify 24-hour-a-day-7-days-a-week access.

“It is important to have full and robust access to information and help,” Greenstein said. “Our goal is to make sure this runs very smoothly and everyone in Medicaid gets access to making a choice.”

MAXIMUS has successfully done start-ups in other states entering the managed-care arena, Greenstein said.

MAXIMUS has its headquarters in Reston, Va., and has more than 220 offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Two other companies sought the business — AHS and Policy Studies Inc. The firms have until Monday to file a protest of the contract award, DHH Communications Director Lisa Faust said.

If unsuccessful there, a protester can then appeal to the state Division of Administration.

Wright Feigley is to help Medicaid recipients understand what CCNs are and their value in the delivery of health care, Greenstein said.

“It’s really about empowering the individual,” he said.

Wright Feigley is a Baton Rouge advertising, marketing and public relations firm. One of its partners, Jeff Wright, has done work for Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Louisiana Health Care Review and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Another partner, Stuart Feigley, has also done work for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Perkins Rowe and Campus Federal Credit Union.

Part of the firm’s work will be to underscore to the Medicaid patient the importance of keeping doctor’s appointments, following immunization schedules for children, picking up prescriptions and taking doses according to physician’s orders, he said.