Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

House passes its Medicaid bill but remains at odds with Senate over 'essential' providers

allison tant.jpg
The Florida Channel
Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee, says she is concerned the proposal could “punish hospitals” because of the potential that they would lose supplemental funding.

The chambers are split over part of the bill that deals with disputes between managed-care plans and “essential” providers, such as children’s hospitals and teaching hospitals.

The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make changes in the state’s Medicaid managed-care system as the Agency for Health Care Administration prepares to move forward with awarding billions of dollars of contracts.

But the House and Senate remained at odds about part of the bill that deals with disputes between managed-care plans and “essential” providers, such as children’s hospitals and teaching hospitals.

The House voted 77-38 to approve the bill (SB 1950) after making changes Monday. The bill will go back to the Senate as lawmakers try to end the annual legislative session as scheduled Friday.

Lawmakers in 2011 created a system in which most Medicaid beneficiaries are required to enroll in managed-care plans.

The Agency for Health Care Administration has gone through lengthy processes twice to award contracts to managed-care plans and is expected to begin a third round this year.

While the bill addresses a series of issues, the dispute has centered on a House proposal that could withhold what are known as Medicaid “supplemental” payments from essential providers that do not reach agreements to be part of managed-care networks.

The House proposal includes a mediation process designed to try to help spur essential providers and managed-care plans to reach agreements. But Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee, said she is concerned the proposal could “punish hospitals” because of the potential that they would lose supplemental funding if unable to reach agreement.

Bill sponsor Sam Garrison, R-Fleming Island, said the goal is to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to receive specialized care from the essential providers.

“We do everything in our power to make sure you (Medicaid beneficiaries) have access to that care,” Garrison said.