Passport sues state over reduced reimbursements, says officials are trying to kill Ky.’s only nonprofit Medicaid managed-care firm

Mark Carter

Kentucky’s only nonprofit manager of Medicaid filed suit Friday against the state health secretary, alleging that he and the Medicaid commissioner are trying to put it out of business.

Passport Health Plan‘s suit in Franklin Circuit Court says the state’s cuts in its Medicaid reimbursements “threaten its existence as a provider of Medicaid managed care health services to about 300,000 Kentuckians,” Deborah Yetter reports for the Louisville Courier Journal.

Mark Carter
Passport CEO Mark Carter testified before a legislative committee recently. (WDRB image)
Adam Meier

The suit alleges that Health Secretary Adam Meier and Medicaid Commissioner Carol Steckel have the company “slated for immediate execution” even though each of them have been in their jobs less than a year. The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate.

The filing of the suit “follows extensive efforts to resolve the dispute with the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services over the cuts enacted last year,” Yetter notes. “Passport and cabinet officials met last week to try to resolve the dispute after appearing before a legislative committee to discuss the matter. But the talks were unsuccessful, the lawsuit said.”

Passport is one of five managed-care organizations that handle care “for most of Kentucky’s nearly 1.4 million Medicaid enrollees. The other four are all national, for-profit health plans,” Yetter notes.
Passport said the suit “is the necessary next step to ensure an adequate reimbursement to allow providers to serve our members, particularly those in the Louisville region. While we would prefer to resolve the matter in negotiation with state leaders, our fiduciary responsibility requires us to explore all options. Without an immediate rate adjustment, Passport Health Plan will face insolvency in 2019. This would be a terrible outcome for Louisville and for Kentucky as a whole.”
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