Senate sends bill for prompt payment by managed-care firms to Beshear, who won’t say whether he will sign or veto it

A bill aimed at resolving payment disputes between medical providers and Medicaid managed-care companies passed unanimously Monday in the Senate, and has been sent to Gov. Steve Beshear for his consideration.

House Bill 5, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would apply existing prompt-payment laws to managed-care firms and would set up an appeal process in the Department of Insurance to handle disputes between them and medical providers. Those claims are now handled by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers Medicaid and has had some problems with the bill.

Hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers have complained that the
cabinet is not resolving their payment disputes with managed-care firms, putting many rural hospitals, clinics and health departments in serious financial binds.  Mental health centers have also reported cutting back services.

Asked last night what he would do with the bill, Beshear said the cabinet “has worked with the managed-care organizations and health-care providers to reduce problems during the change, and many concerns have been addressed.  However, I recognize that some issues persist.  I will review this bill carefully.”

Beshear has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to decide whether to veto the bill, sign it into law or allow it to become law without his signature. Stumbo said that if bill is vetoed it would likely be House Bill 1 in the 2014 session, reports Jessie Halladay of The Courier-Journal. The bill is a top priority for many health-care providers.

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