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Ohio's Impending Medicaid Redesign Worries Mental Health Care Providers

Valeri Potapova

On Sunday, the state will officially move providers of behavioral health services for low-income Ohioans into Medicaid managed care.

That’s a huge change for how they get paid for providing addiction and mental illness treatment, family counseling and other services. These last few days are causing lots of worry for some of those providers.

The state’s Office of Health Transformation says rapid response teams have been set up to help providers who are having trouble with the managed-care plans that will pay claims.

Lori Criss represents a coalition of providers who do about 70 percent of this work, and says the response sometimes isn’t all that rapid.

“People are waiting two weeks still not hearing back having to contact a second time asking for information,” Criss said. “Often the people they talk to aren't prepared to answer the specific question they have.”

The state says it hasn’t heard those concerns and will meet with the managed-care plans to find out what’s happening.

Criss says some providers are taking advantage of the offer of cash advances from the state, because problems processing claims and other issues have them worried that they’ll have to shut down.