Mental health providers frustrated with state’s Medicaid managed care organizations

A recent survey of mental health providers found dissatisfaction with several of the organizations the state uses to manage Medicaid services.

The report, released this month, comes as the state prepares to choose a new set of managed care organizations. The multibillion-dollar contracts account for about 25% of Louisiana’s annual operating budget and cover health care for one-third of Louisiana’s residents, according to The Associated Press. They allow private companies to oversee health care services for about 90% of Louisiana’s Medicaid enrollees, mostly adults covered by Medicaid expansion, pregnant women and children.

Magellan Health, which focuses on behavioral health, received an A- on the Louisiana Rural Mental Health Alliance’s report card, but no other MCO graded higher than a C+, which was the overall grade for Louisiana Healthcare Connections and United Healthcare Community Plan. Aetna and AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana both received a C- and Healthy Blue received a D. 

The report card is the result of an association-wide provider satisfaction survey seeking to compare how the current Medicaid managed care organizations are performing with their network community mental health providers.

Responses to the Louisiana Department of Health’s request for proposals for MCOs was due Sept. 3, according to the department’s website. Secretary Courtney Phillips announced last year that she would restart the Medicaid managed care contractor search rather than continue a yearlong legal fight over the deals her predecessor approved.