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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: AIDS Groups Coping as Contractor Stops Paying Medicaid Claims
By Lou Chibbaro, Jr.
June 4, 2013
Washington Blade (05.30.2013)

Whitman-Walker Health and several other Washington, D.C. healthcare organizations continue to provide services to Medicaid HIV/AIDS clients, even though Chartered Health Plan, the city’s Medicaid contractor, announced in April that they had stopped paying Medicaid claims to doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers in Washington, D.C. The Medicaid contractor experienced a financial collapse and entered into voluntary receivership. The D.C. Department of Health Care Finance released a statement noting that under its contract with the city, Chartered Health Plan administered Medicaid-related issues for more than 100,000 low-income D.C. residents. On May 25, the Washington Post reported that Chartered Health Plan recently confronted near financial collapse because Charter owner Jeffrey E. Thompson allegedly financed a “shadow campaign” to support Vincent Gray’s 2010 mayoral election. Washington, D.C.’s Office of Campaign Finance has said these campaign issues violated the city’s campaign finance law. The US Attorney’s office is investigating the matter. Gray has stated that he was unaware of the so-called shadow campaign and has cooperated with investigators studying the matter. Whitman-Walker Spokesperson Chip Lewis declared that Chartered owed Whitman-Walker slightly more than $40,000 in back Medicaid payments for patient services; however, the clinic is still managing to absorb the delay in payments. The executive directors of Us Helping Us and MetroHealth (previously known as the Carol Vogel Center) and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s director have said that the Medicaid delays have not adversely impacted them yet. Gray said in a statement in April, “In light of the financial problems of Chartered, I will be taking steps to protect the District’s healthcare provider network that has taken years for us to develop. My primary goal is to protect the stability of the community-based providers that will be at risk of closing their doors and turning away patients if there is a significant delay in being paid.” Gray has directed BB Otero, his deputy mayor for health and human services, and the Department of Health Care Finance to develop a plan offering relief for providers most affected by the Medicaid payment cutoff. The Post reported that since the mayor’s announcement last month, the city has retained a new company, AmeriHealth Caritas of Philadelphia, to replace Chartered Health as the city’s lead contractor for Medicaid services.