Mental Health Providers Wait For Medicaid Answers

Aug 23, 2018

Florida is moving ahead with new Medicaid managed-care contracts, but mental-health providers continue to await publication of details about how services need to be delivered.

At a meeting Wednesday in Jacksonville, the Agency for Health Care Administration told members of a statewide managed-care behavioral health panel that new policies won’t be published until fall. The policies will replace existing Medicaid handbooks, which are prescriptive and lay out requirements for the program.

Mark Fontaine, executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association and a member of the panel, only half-jokingly asked AHCA staff a follow-up question, “of what year?”

Another panel member, Lee Wein, director of quality management for Henderson Behavioral Health, expressed frustration after hearing the information won’t be published until fall, saying, “we have no ideas what the new policies will look like.”

The state this year rebid contracts for the Medicaid managed-care program and has signed contracts with 13 different companies to provide traditional acute health-care services, long-term care services and care for people with mental illness and HIV and AIDS.

The Agency for Health Care Administration is transitioning Medicaid patients in the southeast part of the state from old managed-care plans to new plans Dec. 1. AHCA will send Medicaid patients notices about the transition Oct. 18. AHCA is moving ahead despite litigation over the contracts in state administrative cases and Leon County circuit court.