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State Responds to Medicaid Operator Ending Contract

 This is an update to an  earlier story. The commissioner of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services says CoventryCares cannot end its contract this Friday with a major Eastern Kentucky healthcare provider. As WFPL reported Wedndesay, a federal judge ordered Appalachian Regional Healthcare and CoventryCares to talk through their issues before appearing in court this week. Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) filed suit last month against CoventryCares, which is one of four private Medicaid managed care operators (MCO) in Kentucky.

In a letter dated May 2, acting commissioner Neville Wise sent ConventryCares of Kentucky CEO Michael Murphy a letter saying federal Medicaid laws require members to receive at least 30 days notice of a "significant" change in the information previously provided. Wise writes that losing its contract with ARH, which operates eight hospitals in Eastern Kentucky, is deemed significant. The letter says states if CoventryCares wants to end its contract it must alert its members:       Last year, the state privatized Medicaid adding three new MCOs, but the change has been criticized as happening too quickly, and some issues stemming from the privatization still have no solid answers.