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The Latest: Louisiana Medicaid to use emergency contracts

August 29, 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on disputes over Louisiana’s Medicaid contractors (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration is working on emergency contracting plans to maintain health services for 1.5 million Louisiana Medicaid patients, while a legal dispute rages over new deals for the work.

The health department’s announcement Thursday comes after Louisiana’s chief procurement officer, Paula Tregre, refused to let the agency work on plans to switch some Medicaid contractors in January.

Five companies currently manage care for most Medicaid patients. The Edwards administration chose four companies for multibillion-dollar contracts slated to start in 2020.

Two losing bidders are formally protesting that decision. Tregre says the health department cannot negotiate contract terms during the protest over contract awards.

The health department says the emergency contracts aim to keep the five current companies in place and ensure no disruption in health care access for Medicaid patients.

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9 a.m.

Plans to shift more than 500,000 Louisiana Medicaid patients to new health plans by January will remain stalled.

The health department cannot negotiate terms with the four companies chosen to manage Medicaid patient care while legal disputes over the multibillion-dollar contract awards continue.

That was the decision issued Wednesday evening by Louisiana’s chief procurement officer Paula Tregre.

Two losing bidders are formally protesting the contract awards, accusing the health department of a biased bid review.

The health department wanted to continue moving ahead with new contracts, even as Tregre is determining whether state law was followed in the contract awards. The agency argued that delays could jeopardize services to Medicaid patients.

As she denied the department’s request, Tregre noted that agency leaders told lawmakers the legal disputes didn’t threaten services.

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