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Medicaid payor head addresses payment delays

J. Mario Molina, the physician who is the head of Idaho’s Medicaid provider, apologized in person Aug. 23 for his company’s delay in making payments to thousands of Idaho health care providers.

Molina, the president and CEO of Molina Healthcare Inc., held a press conference with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in Boise where he promised his company would give the time, energy and resources needed to correct problems that have delayed payments to health providers around Idaho.

The state Department of Health has been meeting weekly with leaders of the California-based health care company since Aug. 6 to try to correct the payment problems.

“I’m not here to make excuses,” Molina said.

Molina Healthcare took over Medicaid payments in July. Health care providers complained to the state after they failed to receive reimbursements for providing services. The state has been making payments based on estimates to help providers pay their bills. Company officials later said they had been understaffed.

Molina said Aug. 23 the company has nearly 200 people now working to solve the problems in Idaho – more than double the number it had a few weeks ago.

Idaho has a multi-year contract with Molina Healthcare and intends to stay with the company, said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokeswoman Emily Simnitt.

“We feel they have responded to our concerns and we’ll be continuing to work with them to get those system issues addressed,” Simnitt said.

She added that providers have reported improvements in the payment system, and the Department of Health is prepared to continue making payments to providers while Molina Healthcare fixes the problems that have halted cash flow.

“At this point we are seeing that some of the new claims coming through are being processed as they are supposed to be,” Simnitt said. “The system is improving.”

The Medicaid claims payment system pays out about $24 million in 100,000 Medicaid claims each week, the governor’s office said.

Molina also met Aug. 23 with representatives of the Idaho Medical Association, Idaho Hospital Association and Idaho Health Care Association.

About Anne Wallace Allen

Anne Wallace Allen is the editor of the Idaho Business Review.