CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire has changed key rates to entice medical providers to participate in a managed care network for Medicaid clients currently stalled for lack of providers.
State Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas said Tuesday that the agency adjusted the rates to give three managed care companies under contract with the state more flexibility in negotiating with providers.
Toumpas believes moving to a managed care system will not only save the state money but in the long run improve the health of the state’s Medicaid participants. It could also be an important factor in the state’s ability to handle an expansion to Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), if a state Medicaid expansion measure passes.
Hospitals, mental health clinics and other providers have refused to participate in the state’s managed care system because of low reimbursement levels for treating Medicaid patients.
Toumpas said he has been calling the heads of the state’s hospitals and is hopeful the rate changes will be enough for them to participate.
“The rates are at a level to provide greater flexibility to the managed care operators to negotiate with the providers,” said Toumpas.
The current budget, written by Republicans, also cut state hospital aid for all but a handful of critical access hospitals. The 10 largest hospitals then sued over Medicaid rates, which complicated efforts to negotiate over managed care.
Gov. Maggie Hassan, D, is backing a budget that would restore about half of the $200 million in aid cut in the last two years — but only if the hospitals pay taxes on their revenues at much higher amounts than the Senate believes is realistic. The state parcels out the hospital tax revenue to pay medical providers, for general state spending and as aid to hospitals.