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Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Medicaid Announces Next Generation of Managed Care Organizations

For the first time since 2005, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (“ODM”) made significant changes to the structure of the Medicaid program by finalizing the Medicaid Managed Care Procurement process. The Procurement process began in 2019 at the behest of Governor Mike DeWine who had a goal to make Medicaid managed care more focused on the health and well-being of individuals.

According to ODM, the guiding principles for the next generation of managed care are a commitment to:

  • Improve wellness and health outcomes.
  • Emphasize a personalized care experience.
  • Improve care for children and adults with complex needs.
  • Reduce administrative burdens to give providers more time with patient care.
  • Increase program transparency and accountability.

On April 9, 2021, ODM announced the six MCOs selected for the next generation of the managed care program: 

  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio, Inc.
  • Humana Health Plan of Ohio, Inc.
  • Molina Healthcare of Ohio, Inc.
  • AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio, Inc.
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • CareSource Ohio, Inc.

Ohio Medicaid also announced that it is deferring for additional consideration its decision related to Buckeye Community Health Plan.

The selected MCOs will now be required to emphasize plan coordination with OhioRISE and the single pharmacy benefit manager (SPBM), also recently announced by ODM. The MCOs will also assist with initiatives such as centralized credentialing and work with a fiscal intermediary to streamline administrative functions and reduce duplicative processes for providers.

Current managed care plan members will continue to receive services with their existing plans until the transitions in early 2022. There should be no lapse in coverage. Members can also choose to select a new plan late this summer during an open enrollment period that has yet to be determined.

Additional Procurement Announcements

OhioRISE

ODM selected Aetna Better Health of Ohio to serve as the specialized managed care organization children with the most complex behavioral health needs under the new OhioRISE (Ohio Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) program. Aetna will work with ODM and Governor DeWine’s Family and Children First Cabinet Council to implement a child and family-centric model featuring new targeted services and intensive care coordination delivered by community partners. Aetna also will coordinate with state and local organizers to expand access to in-home and community-based services for OhioRISE members and their families.   

Single Pharmacy Benefit Manager (SPBM)

ODM selected Gainwell Technologies to be the agency’s SPBM. ODM’s stated goal in contracting with one PBM is to realize greater transparency and accountability in Medicaid’s $3 billion pharmacy program. According to ODM, for Medicaid managed care members, the SPBM will mean less out-of-network restrictions and more choice in pharmacy. For providers, the goal is that the SPBM should also streamline clinical and prior authorization processes and provide a standard point of contact for administrative needs.

Fiscal Intermediary (FI)

ODM also awarded its FI service contract to Gainwell Technologies. The FI create a system to serve as a single clearinghouse for all provider claims and prior authorization requests, validating transactions and routing requests to the appropriate MCO for resolution and reimbursement. In addition, the FI will assist ODM in assessing compliance with Medicaid managed care regulations, review encounter data, and track performance measures. The separate FI system is new for Ohio, and providers and MCOs alike are anxiously waiting to see how the process works in reality.

For questions about the Procurement process or Medicaid generally, please reach out to the healthcare attorneys at Brennan, Manna & Diamond and check back on the Resources page for more information following the Procurement announcement.

COVID, Privacy and More! New Challenges for Physicians in 2021

While hopefully we are coming out of the pandemic, the legal repercussions related to legislative initiatives and other actions during that time continue to apply to businesses in general and healthcare practices. It is a helpful reminder that practices make certain that they maintain accurate records in order to satisfy the reporting requirements under the various COVID-related bills and protect yourself from future employment claims.

Banking and Cannabis: Bank Lending, The Next Frontier

A fortuitous combination of developments and circumstances present the banking and cannabis industries a large opportunity to enhance each of their respective bottom lines: conventional bank lending, payment processing, treasury management and other services, and bank administered SBA and revenue bond financing to cannabis businesses.

EKRA Updates: COVID-19 Testing, Employment Agreements, and More

Ever since the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) was passed by Congress in 2018, we have been waiting to see how the law is interpreted and ultimately enforced. As a reminder, EKRA seeks to eliminate kickbacks in return for patient referrals to facilities that treat those overcoming addiction, such as recovery homes, clinical treatment centers, and laboratories. (NOTE: EKRA applies to all laboratories, not just those related to addiction treatment.) It is essentially an expansion of the Anti-Kickback Statute, which only applies to those services that are reimbursable through federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, to now also cover services reimbursable through private insurers.

New Interpretation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Rocks the Industry

It’s not lost on us that our interpretation of § 1692c(b) runs the risk of upsetting the status quo in the debt-collection industry. This quote from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal in its April 21, 2021 opinion from the case of Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. is possibly the biggest understatement in the history of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. At a minimum, the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion has sent shockwaves and fear throughout multiple sectors of the financial services industry.

Construction Industry Trends and Predictions Through 2021 and Beyond: Insurance and Emerging Threats

A 2021 survey identified three key issues impacting the construction industry in 2021: (1) the financial health of contractors; (2) the continuing risk of the pandemic; and (3) technology driving productivity, but also increasing the risk of cybersecurity threats. With this backdrop, insurance premiums in the construction industry are generally on the rise in 2021.