Ventura County Board Votes To Keep Results of Health Plan Audit Private
Last week, the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission voted to keep confidential the findings of a state-requested audit into the management and claims processes of an area health plan, the Los Angeles Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The Gold Cost Health Plan was launched in 2011 as an HMO-style alternative for an estimated 110,000 Ventura County Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
The California Department of Health Care Services requested an audit of the plan after receiving complaints about late payments and poor management.
The county commission approved a $450,000 contract with Berkley-based consulting firm BRG to conduct the audit. BRG investigators will examine claims and complaints from physicians, hospital administrators and some of the health plan's employees.
At the same meeting, a majority of the commission voted to keep the audit's findings confidential, provided that DHCS officials allow it.
The commission's attorney -- Tin Kin Lee -- said he could sign a contract with the auditors, thereby making their findings confidential because of attorney-client laws.
Lanyard Dial, the board's chair, said, "I don't see it as a risk to us" to keep the findings private. He said, "We should trust our counsel."
However, Commissioner Robert Gonzalez, director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, voted against keeping the findings confidential. He said, "We have nothing to hide," adding, "Going down the road to somehow sequester this information feels uncomfortable."
Anthony Cava, DHCS spokesperson, has declined to comment on whether the agency will approve the confidentiality request (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 3/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.