More states are moving to specialized managed-care contracts solely to handle medical and behavioral services for foster kids. But child advocates, foster parents, and even state officials say these and other care arrangements are shortchanging foster kids’ health needs.
Centene, the largest Medicaid managed-care company in the U.S., has thrown more than $26.9 million at political campaigns across the country since 2015, especially focused on states where it is wooing Medicaid contracts and settling accusations that it overbilled taxpayers. Among its tactics: Centene is skirting contribution limits by giving to candidates through its many subsidiaries.
People in jail who have serious mental illness and cannot stand trial because of their condition are waiting months, or even more than a year, to get into their state psychiatric hospitals.
States are required to set up transportation to medical appointments for adults, children and people with disabilities enrolled in the Medicaid program, and contracts can be worth tens of millions of dollars for transportation companies. But patients say the companies that deliver those rides are showing up late — and sometimes not at all — leaving them in bad weather, disrupting their care and even causing injuries.
More than 40 states have turned to managed-care companies to control costs in their Medicaid programs, which cover low-income residents and people with disabilities. As Georgia prepares to open bidding on a new contract, the question looms: Has this model paid off?