Haynes asks hospitals for a truce as they and state work through problems with managed-care Medicaid

Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Haynes won a smattering of applause from Kentucky hospital officials Thursday as she called for “not a surrender, but a truce” as her cabinet continues to address the hospitals’ complaints about the state’s managed-care system for Medicaid, which recently entered its third year.

Haynes drew the ire of hospitals last month when she said some needed to change their business models to emphasize prevention and wellness, not cashing in on Medicaid payments for emergency-room care. Thursday, she said in a speech to the Kentucky Hospital Association in Louisville that she wants “to work more closely together, not only to improve your business practices,” but to improve the health of Kentucky.

Haynes also called on the hospitals to join Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the University of Kentucky hospital in contacting past patients who lacked insurance and urge them to sign up for expanded Medicaid or private insurance on the state’s Kynect website, under federal health reform. “I need your help,” she said. “we’re very excited about the opportunity for dramatic improvements in Kentucky’s health status.”

Also at the meeting, state Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, the House’s health-care budget subcommittee chair, said he thought Haynes and the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear had largely resolved the “prompt pay” problems of hospitals not getting money they are owed by insurance companies. But Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chair Julie Denton, R-Louisville, called for more action on the subject, such as an independent review panel to review disputed claims.

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