West To Urge Ohio Department Of Medicaid To Delay Behavioral Health Redesign
Says botched rollout has already threatened care, endangered fight against opioid crisis
May 10, 2018
[ Thomas West Home | Thomas West Press ]

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced he will be reaching out to Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Barbara Sears to push for a six-month extension of Phase I of the department’s Behavioral Health Redesign. According to a recent survey by the Ohio Council for Behavioral Health and Family Service Providers, more than 60 percent of providers received less than 80 percent of their expected Medicaid revenues since the implementation of the plan in January 2018. This has forced a number of healthcare providers to lay off employees, eliminate services and deny patient claims.

“Logistical issues during the rollout of the redesign plan have wreaked havoc on our healthcare providers, threatening care and forcing many to eliminate staff and essential services. This is especially troublesome at a time when we continue to battle our worst-in-the-nation opioid crisis,” said West. “Extending Phase I by six months will allow us to iron out the issues and refocus our efforts on what truly matters—delivering quality, affordable healthcare to Ohio families.”

NetCare, Franklin County’s primary crisis mental health and substance abuse provider, has reported seeing only 60 to 80 percent of reimbursement revenue compared to previous years. Across the state, more than 50 percent of providers have had to tap into cash reserves to cover expenses. Denied claims for patients have more than doubled since the implementation of Phase I in January 2018.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid’s Behavioral Health Redesign was proposed as a means to modernize regulations, streamline service and move more behavioral health coverage to managed care plans. The initial timeline called for a 12-month transition between phases, which has since been reduced to six months. Phase II of the plan is scheduled to take effect July 1.

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