(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser responded to the decision of four Councilmembers to sign a resolution that stops, for 45 days, the process for approving the three emergency District health plan contracts that authorize the coordination and management of health care services for District residents.
“On September 1, 2021, I used my emergency powers to declare a health systems emergency in the District over the status of the city’s managed care contracts. My actions were designed to ensure the continuity of health care services for more than 250,000 District residents while the Department of Health Care Finance initiates a new procurement for an expanded program of managed care.
“However, on September 10, 2021, the Council Chairman announced that the process for approving the emergency contracts will be held in abeyance for up to 45 days as the Council considers whether it will approve the contracts that I have submitted under my emergency authority. As the current contracts expire on September 30, 2021, any action by the Council that delays approval of the emergency contracts beyond this date will effectively terminate the Medicaid managed care program in the District.
“This has several consequences: (1) The Department of Health Care Finance will have no legal authority to pay its three health plans for the health care services they purchase on behalf of District residents, effectively ending this service; (2) As care coordination is provided through managed care, without this service, more than 230,000 District residents will be forced to negotiate the complex health care system on their own, resulting in patient confusion, missed appointments, and poor health outcomes; (3) Approximately 20,000 enrollees in the Alliance Health Care program would lose access to all but emergency care services; and (4) Health care costs to the District will sharply increase and be less predictable without the involvement of care coordination teams.
“To avoid these substantial, unnecessary, and harmful disruptions, I urge Chairman Phil Mendelson to withdraw the disapproval resolution immediately as the Department of Health Care Finance resolicits the procurement over the next few months in order to add additional services for beneficiaries and to address the Council’s concerns.”