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Lawmakers want to slow down private company's launch of healthcare service for youth in state care


Wednesday, September 11, 2019  |  Article  |  By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

Children, Teens (19) , DCFS (30) Bailey, Darren--State House, 109 , Feigenholtz, Sara--State House, 12
A group of Illinois state lawmakers wants to slow down the rollout of a new program to handle healthcare for youth in the care of the state because of a lack of details from a private provider.

IlliniCare Health Plan Inc. has already been paid around $3.3 billion combined in the past two-and-a-half years for services through other grants and contracts with the state

Department of Children and Family Services officials told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday that IlliniCare will handle healthcare for youth in state care, former youth in state care and other eligible children beginning Nov. 1. The contract would provide wraparound services for 74,000 youth in the care of the state and other eligible children.

Lawmakers had questions about what would happen to the quality of healthcare services for affected youth if there’s a merger with IlliniCare and another company. The also asked about the satisfaction rates with other managed care organizations and raised other concerns.

“What cost is associated to that?” asked state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia.

“I don’t have that with us today, but we can get it to you,” Healthcare and Family Services Director Thersa Eagleson said. “It’s based on current spending with actuarial oversight.”

After other questions failed to yield specific answers, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, asked a question to which every lawmaker on the panel raised a hand in affirmation.

“If they believe that they would like more information about this and they would like the process to slow down so that we can get some of these questions answered, raise your hand,” Feignenhotz said. “I think that’s a majority.”

IlliniCare Health President and CEO Leslie Naamon responded to tough questions about the appeals process and communications with affected children and families.

“The program is not live, so I cannot tell you that we went out and talked to youth because we didn’t have the ability at that time,” Naamon said. “I can only tell you how we’re structured and what our plan is going forward.”

Feigenholtz said there have been big concerns with other managed care operations.

“You’re going to have a pretty high mountain to climb to prove and to show us, everybody on this committee, that this is an adequate plan before you move forward,” Feigenholtz said.

The company said it plans on working with lawmakers to get questions answered. It expects to launch Nov. 1.