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02/06/2019

DeWine Directs Medicaid To Bid Managed Care Contracts

The Ohio Department of Medicaid has begun the lengthy process of putting the state's five managed care plans out for bid.

ODM started the work Friday at the behest of Governor DeWine, who a spokesman said "felt it was time to do so."

It will be the first time since 2011-2012 that the state has bid out the contracts for Medicaid managed care organizations, which oversee the administration of benefits for most enrollees. That process lasted about a year and a half, ODM spokesman Tom Betti said.

"Consistent with the governor's directive, we are immediately moving forward with the re-procurement process of our managed care plans," Mr. Betti said in a statement. "We look forward to an open discussion with many of our consumers, advocates, and partners to explore innovative ways to improve the quality of services and care to those we serve, as well as securing the best deal for Ohio taxpayers."

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Gov. DeWine, said the decision to open a new procurement process stems from a desire to ensure the state is getting a good deal.

"The goal here is to save money, get the best deal for taxpayers," he said in an interview.

Part of the governor's reasoning, although not the whole reason, is an effort to address concerns about the role of pharmacy benefit managers in the Medicaid program, Mr. Tierney said.

The state's Medicaid program has seen significant changes since the last procurement process. The Medicaid program still fell under the Department of Job and Family Services in 2012. The state has also expanded Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act and moved additional services, such as behavioral health, into managed care since then.

Mr. Betti said the process is still in the early stages of its development, and that it will be "transparent." ODM has the authority to terminate agreements at any time, and can renew or revise contracts every six months, he said. (Gongwer News Service)

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