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Blog

Oklahoma to transition to Medicaid Managed Care

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This week, our In Focus section reviews a new Oklahoma law to implement Medicaid managed care by October 1, 2023. The law, signed by Governor Kevin Stitt on May 26, 2022, requires the state to issue a request for proposals and to award at least three Medicaid managed care contracts to health plans or provider-led entities like accountable care organizations.

Provider-led entities would receive preferential treatment, with at least one targeted to receive a contract. However, if no provider-led entity submits a response, the state will not be required to contract with one.

Goals of the legislation include:

  • Improve health outcomes for Medicaid members and the state as a whole;
  • Ensure budget predictability through shared risk and accountability;
  • Ensure access to care, quality measures, and member satisfaction;
  • Ensure efficient and cost-effective administrative systems and structures; and
  • Ensure a sustainable delivery system that is a provider-led effort and that is operated and managed by providers to the maximum extent possible.

Plans would provide physical health, behavioral health, and prescription drug services. Covered beneficiaries would include traditional Medicaid members and the state’s voter-approved expansion population, but not the aged, blind, and disabled population eligible for SoonerCare.

Plans will need to contract with at least one local Oklahoma provider organization for a model of care containing care coordination, care management, utilization management, disease management, network management, or another model of care as approved by OHCA.

Oklahoma will also issue separate RFPs for a Medicaid dental benefit manager plan and a Children’s Specialty plan.

Background

Oklahoma currently does not have a fully capitated, risk-based Medicaid managed care program. The majority of the state’s more than 1.2 million Medicaid members are in SoonerCare Choice, a Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) program in which each member has a medical home. Other programs include SoonerCare Traditional (Medicaid fee-for-service), SoonerPlan (a limited benefit family planning program), and Insure Oklahoma (a premium assistance program for low-income people whose employers offer health insurance). Prior efforts to transition to Medicaid managed care have encountered roadblocks, starting in 2017 with a failed attempt to move aged, blind, and disabled members to managed care.

More recently, in June 2021, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a planned transition of the state’s traditional Medicaid program to managed care, ruling that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority does not have the authority to implement the program without legislative approval.

Contracts had been awarded to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Humana, Centene/Oklahoma Complete Health, and UnitedHealthcare. Centene/Oklahoma Complete Health also won an award for the SoonerSelect Specialty Children’s Health Plan program, covering foster children, juvenile justice-involved individuals, and children either in foster care or receiving adoption assistance.

Link to Senate Bill 1337

Blog

Behavioral health crises drive bipartisan action in Congress

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Agreement about the severity of the nation’s mental health and substance use disorder crises is rising above the partisan politics in Congress. In fact, these are among a handful of issues driving work on bipartisan legislation across all the key House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over behavioral health programs and policies this year.

On May 18, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022” (H.R. 7666). This legislation incorporates a collection of bipartisan bills to update and reauthorize over 30 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs addressing the mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) crisis. The bill also advances initiatives to strengthen the 9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline implementation efforts, invest in the crisis response continuum of care, and support strategic opioid crisis response plans among numerous other policies. Energy and Commerce is one of several House committees planning to advance behavioral health bills this year.

U.S. Senate committee leaders have been similarly engaged in developing bipartisan proposals to address mental health and substance use disorders. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Finance committee leaders are expected to reveal their proposals as soon as this summer. The Finance Committee’s proposal will focus on Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) policies and could reflect findings from the committee’s report, “Mental Health Care in the United States: The Case for Federal Action.” Similarly, HELP members Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act to extend several expiring mental health programs, which could be incorporated in that Committee’s comprehensive proposal. Across committees, there has been an interest in strengthening parity, supporting integration of primary and behavioral health care, increasing access to youth mental health screenings, scheduling fentanyl analogues, and easing requirements for prescribing Medication Assisted Treatment.

What To Expect

Congressional leaders have consistently expressed their desire to advance bipartisan legislation to address the urgent needs and gaps in the mental health and SUD care delivery systems, as well as support education and research.  While these are key areas to watch, the diminishing number of legislative days on the congressional calendar and climate surrounding November’s mid-term elections create uncertainty for the timing and scope of Congress’ work. It remains to be seen whether a package of health care proposals, such as reauthorization of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s user fee programs, the Cures 2.0 legislation to advance biomedical research, mental health and substance use disorder legislation, and the PREVENT Act could be sent to President Biden’s desk before the end of September.

HMA companies are supporting clients impacted by the policy changes being discussed and the program funding addressed in these legislative proposals. Understanding the landscape for federal change allows state and local governments and stakeholders to plan for and shape these opportunities. For more information, please contact Andrea Maresca, Principal, Federal Policy, HMA; Matt Gallivan, Director, Leavitt Partners; and Laura Pence, Director, Leavitt Partners.

Blog

HMA conference “The New Normal for Medicaid, Medicare, and Other Publicly Sponsored Programs to Feature Insights from Health Plan Leaders, State Medicaid Directors, Providers”

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Pre-Conference Workshop: October 9, 2022
Conference: October 10-11, 2022
Location: Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park

HMA Conference on the New Normal for Medicaid, Medicare, and Other Publicly Sponsored Programs to Feature Insights from Health Plan Leaders, State Medicaid Directors, Providers

Early Bird registration is now open for HMA’s fifth national conference on trends in publicly sponsored healthcare. Early Bird Registration Ends July 11th.

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Blog

Nebraska releases Medicaid managed care RFP

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This week, our In Focus section reviews the Nebraska Heritage Health request for proposals (RFP), released by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on April 15, 2022. DHHS will award statewide contracts to two or three Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to serve approximately 342,000 individuals. Implementation is set to begin July 1, 2023. Contracts are currently worth $1.8 billion annually.

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Brief & Report

Learning from COVID-19-related flexibilities: moving toward more person-centered Medicare and Medicaid programs

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A new person-centered assessment framework and issue brief, authored by HMA experts in conjunction with Manatt Health, examine the temporary regulatory Medicare and Medicaid flexibilities implemented during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and aimed at ensuring access to care for older adults and people with chronic conditions and disabilities.

As these temporary flexibilities are currently set to expire in April 2022, the report provides insight and guidance for policymakers as they assess the impact these regulatory policy changes are having on advancing person- and community-centered care and consider possible permanence of these changes.

The framework is designed to help facilitate these conversations and decisions and assess the potential for continuation of the regulatory flexibilities to advance person- and community-centered care, facilitate access to care in the least intensive or least restrictive setting, and better align Medicare and Medicaid program rules.

HMA colleagues Jennifer Podulka, Yamini Narayan, and Keyan Javadi contributed to the framework and research.

Blog

How stakeholders can prepare now for unwinding of Medicaid public health emergency continuous eligibility

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HMA Principal Jane Longo, Federal Policy Principal Andrea Maresca, and a team of experts from across HMA and HMA companies weigh in on the recent guidance to states on preparing for the end of the Public Health Emergency.

This year, one of the most significant issues the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering is whether and when to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) declaration. The PHE declaration has important implications for Medicaid enrollees as well as state Medicaid agencies and stakeholders.

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Blog

Iowa releases Health Link Medicaid managed care RFP

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This week, our In Focus section reviews the Iowa Health Link request for proposals (RFP) for Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to serve the state’s traditional Medicaid program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) known as Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (Hawki), and the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAWP). The RFP was released by the Iowa Department of Human Services on February 17, 2022. Contracts are set to begin July 1, 2023, and are worth approximately $6.5 billion annually.

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Blog

California releases Medi-Cal RFP for Two-Plan, GMC, Regional Models

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This week, our In Focus section reviews the California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) managed care request for proposals (RFP) released by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on February 9, 2022. DHCS is procuring contracts for commercial plans for three of the Medi-Cal managed care plan models in 21 counties, serving approximately 3 million beneficiaries. Contracts will be awarded to one managed care organization (MCO) in each of the Two-Plan model counties, two MCOs in each of the geographic managed care (GMC) model counties, and two MCOs in each of the Regional model counties. This procurement is the largest released by California, rebidding contracts for commercial plans statewide.

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