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Standridge expresses concern regarding managed care organizations after release of U.S. Government Accountability Office report

State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, is once again raising concern regarding managed care organizations (MCO) after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding access and quality problems in managed care.

Publicly released on Dec. 16, the 51-page report found weaknesses in the oversight of Medicaid managed long-term services and support on both the state and federal levels through monitoring six different states. The governor and Oklahoma Health Care Authority are currently exploring managed care options, which would privatize health care for the state’s Medicaid population.

“Moving to a managed care program could cost taxpayers several billion dollars a year over and above what it currently costs us to insure our Medicaid population,” Standridge said. “Taxpayers are being asked to spend billions of their hard-earned dollars to ensure these out of state, billion-dollar companies can make a profit from our state Medicaid program.”

The GAO report found that five of the six selected states discovered one or more MCOs had problems with authorizing services or notifying beneficiaries of changes to their services. In Virginia, three of six MCOs inappropriately reduced services for 33 to 53 percent of the beneficiary cases reviewed.

In addition, five of the six selected states had one or more MCOs that did not adequately coordinate or monitor quality of care for its beneficiaries. In Arizona, the MCO responsible for beneficiaries with developmental disabilities had repeated access and quality of care problems, like medication errors and lack of investigation quality incident reports.

“The governor and others claim the quality of care will be improved, but the GAO report this week says exactly the opposite,” Standridge said. “They conclude that the problems with these managed care companies are likely widespread, and that the serious issues they have are leading to injury and neglect of fragile citizens covered on Medicaid. We cannot in good conscience privatize health care for these vulnerable populations when MCOs repeatedly showcase a lack of quality care.”