Medical officials prepare to implement Medicaid changes

By Angela Sparkman | 

Doctors and hospitals are getting an extra month to implement the changes to Medicaid Managed Care.

In July, Governor Beshear announced Kentucky awarded four contracts for companies take over administering medicaid, but health providers said the October deadline was too soon.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is extending the deadline to November for hospitals to sign contracts with the MCOs so changes can be implemented.

Dr. Al Pelphrey is one of two pediatric dentists within 120 miles that accepts and treats Medicaid patients.

He is worried changes will jeopardize care. "We're going to be subject to a lot more restrictions and red tape in order to provide the same services for the same reimbursement," said Dr. Pelphrey.

State officials say the change to Managed Care Organizations will save taxpayers more than one billion dollars over the course of three years.

"Kentucky's goal is not just to lower overall costs but to improve the health outcome through managed care's focus on preventative methods and screenings and using disease management for those with chronic health conditions and reducing unnecessary tests and services for care coordination," said Jill Midkiff, Director of

Communications for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

However, Dr. Pelphrey says the original October 1st deadline to make the switch is too soon.

"That has the potential to drive providers out of the system, the medicaid system, which is going to make it harder for those patients. It's going to increase their difficulty in being able to access dental care, pharmacy care, and health care," he said.

State officials extended the deadline to November 1st for medical providers to sign contracts with the MCOs.

"It's going to be a very difficult task to complete those negotiations with the individual MCOs, but we're working very diligently to do that, so we as dental providers to the medicaid population can continue to take care of our patients like we've always done," said Dr. Pelphrey.

The Kentucky Hospital Association told state officials the one month extension is enough time to sign contracts and implement changes.

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