CT Mirror Viewpoint: Husky MCOs would harm access to mental health care

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A new CT Mirror Viewpoint from a HUSKY mental health provider describes why the Governor’s idea to bring managed care back would drive more providers from the program. Demand for mental health care has never been higher and is a serious concern for HUSKY. Donna Nicolino is a trauma specialist participating in both Connecticut’s non-MCO Medicaid program and New York’s program that runs through MCOs. She shares her “very straightforward” experience navigating and getting care for her clients in Connecticut and credits it as “One of the many reasons I am happy to live and work in Connecticut”. The integrity of our system “encourages me to continue accepting HUSKY and working with the low-income clients who often have the most need.”

But her experience in New York’s system is very different. She outlines the difficulties of navigating their Medicaid MCOs, which have left her no choice but to leave two of the three plans she accepted. “I have personally had to terminate with clients [in NY] because they needed to switch their Medicaid plan in order to continue on needed medications, and their new plan was not accepting new therapists. This of course is disruptive to the client’s mental health treatment.”

“With HUSKY, the only reason I have ever had a claim denied is if a client was not covered on that particular date. With the New York plans, the denials were confusing and obscure, and happened often enough that continuing to take the plans was untenable for me.”

She urges Connecticut not to bring back MCOs to preserve and build on Connecticut’s superior program.