Friday afternoon Governor Rell announced that she will reverse two long standing policies that jeopardized health care for over 340,000 CT residents in the HUSKY and Charter Oak programs. Providers will now be able to contract with the new HUSKY HMOs to provide services only to HUSKY families and not Charter Oak members. The state will also continue to contract with Anthem, allowing access to a far larger network of providers than any of the three HUSKY HMOs has been able to develop. Her announcement came just hours after DSS received strong criticism at the Medicaid Managed Care Council meeting from legislators, advocates and providers that both policies were creating widespread confusion and barriers to care that threatened both programs. A letter from five members of CT’s Congressional delegation was also released at the meeting asking CMS to halt enrollment into the two new HUSKY HMOs because of inadequate provider networks.
Also at the meeting, in direct contrast to the on-going good faith efforts of advocates and DSS staff on the PCCM working group, DSS announced their plan to only implement PCCM in two communities – Waterbury and Willimantic – rather than statewide as had been promised to advocates working diligently recruiting providers and families to make this program a success. This decision also violates the terms of DSS’ plan submitted to and approved by the Appropriations and Human Services Committees. Advocates voiced deep concerns about this sudden decision, delivered with only five minutes left in the meeting, given that 300 CT providers across the state applied to participate in PCCM, and that this program is the first evidence of energy and interest on the part of providers to participate in the program and provide care to HUSKY families in many years. Advocates are left to wonder how important policy decisions are made at DSS and whether good faith participation in DSS working groups is productive.