Audit: More oversight needed of Medicaid managed-care firms

Louisiana’s health department doesn’t properly monitor managed-care organizations that provide services for most state Medicaid patients to ensure they have enough specialists to treat mental health problems and drug addiction, according to an audit released Monday.

The report from Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office comes as the health department is asking lawmakers to extend the contracts with the managed-care companies for another two years, deals carrying an estimated price tag of $15.4 billion in federal and state dollars.

Auditors said they found 45 percent of providers listed by managed-care groups as licensed mental health professionals from October through December 2016 didn’t meet licensing requirements, raising questions about the services provided. The Department of Health said the figure was inflated and that it has verified licensure of more than half of those questioned.

The audit also raised concerns about whether the health department was double-checking information given by the managed-care organizations to ensure it accurately reflects available providers and services.

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