A state lawmaker is accusing the Department of Health Services of intentionally delaying crucial information about proposed changes to long-term care programs.
The governor’s state budget plan would make cuts and other changes to multiple programs that are handled by Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), including Family Care. State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) says the MOCs that help administer those programs have been unable to inform clients about the changes though. That’s because, under state law, they are unable to communicate with clients unless it is approved by the department.
The Stevens Point Democrat believes the agency has intentionally been “dragging its feet” on approving the release of that information in order to limit dissent on the proposals.
In a statement, DHS spokeswoman Stephanie Smiley said “The Department is actively working with the Managed Care Organizations to ensure that any communications that MCOs provide to our members accurately describe the proposals, are factually correct and are productive.”
Lassa argues it’s still taking too much time though. With the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee set to begin taking up the budget plan in the coming weeks, she says the delay could jeopardize the ability of residents impacted by the changes to voice their opinions on them to lawmakers. Lassa worries lawmakers will have already adopted the provisions by the time DHS allows information to go out, and argues that “any further delay is unacceptable.”