$10 Million Owed to Illinois Mental Health Providers Stretching to 2014

CBHA_Lindsey_Hearing_MCO(Chicago) – A top behavioral health advocate group told Illinois lawmakers at public hearing in Chicago on Thursday that multiple insurance companies managing the state’s Medicaid program owe community care providers an estimated $10 million on overdue bills stretching back to 2014.

Community Behavioral Healthcare (CBHA) CEO Marvin Lindsey revealed to members of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee that some MCOs have made progress on paying providers since the panel’s last legislative hearing in March 2017.

“While some Managed Care Organizations have made progress in paying outstanding claims, before the start of the new contract date, our members are still owed $10 million that date back as far as three years,” said Lindsey.

The House panel, chaired by State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), is reviewing the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services’ new, $60 billion Medicaid managed care contract with seven different insurance companies that took effect January 1, 2018.

Among those behavioral health providers with outstanding bills payable by managed care insurance companies is Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, which is currently owed $2.3 million. Of that amount, $1,026,000 is 90 days or more overdue and $436,615 is more than 365 days overdue.

“According to their contract with the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services, managed care companies are required to pay 90% of claims within 30 days and 99% of claims within 90 days,” Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Home and Community Services Vice President Tim Sheehan. “Fortunately, some Medicaid managed care organizations have made a concerted effort to pay down outstanding claims while others have not.”

Lindsey also noted that the state has contracted a private auditor to examine MCOs’ estimated liabilities to providers and that a report is scheduled to be released next month, but that the auditor has yet to contact community behavioral health providers.

“I am not aware of the auditing firm contacting one of our members,” said Lindsey. “And an interim report is due February 2018 and the clock is ticking on both the report and our members getting paid.”

The Department of Family Services hired Meyers and Stauffer, LLC, effective November 1, 2017, to audit the current MCOs to estimate liabilities for services provided by community behavioral health providers from July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017.

“Last March, we testified before this committee on the MCO contract on what we believed would lead to a smoother process and transitions for community behavioral health providers, and providers getting paid for services delivered was near the top of that list,” said Lindsey. “Over the last 9 months, some managed care companies have made progress in paying back claims, but the fact remains other insurance companies are seriously lagging behind and community behavioral health providers are still owed $10 million.”

mlindsey@cbha.net

Survey: $142 Million Owed to Mental Health Providers as Psychiatrist Wait Times Mushroom, Services Shudder

(Springfield, IL) – A new survey by a top behavioral health advocate group reveals that the state of Illinois owes community mental health centers statewide a staggering $142 million in unpaid bills, a debt that is squeezing care for people struggling with mental illness and addiction.

The Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois released on Wednesday a survey of state community mental health providers that shows that these agencies are owed for fiscal year 2017 a total of $142,558,150 or nearly 90% of what has been budgeted for the current fiscal year that expires on June 30.

Moreover, the survey shows that, in Fiscal Year 2016, 73.5% of community agencies had reduced or eliminated behavioral health programs and that in Fiscal Year 2017 an additional 33.7% of agencies further cut or ended services.

“To say that community mental health providers are operating on fumes would be incorrect. They consumed the fumes long ago,” said Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois C.E.O. Marvin Lindsey. “The financial starvation of providers has shriveled our ability to serve an exploding need to the extent that Illinois is fast becoming a behavioral health system Potemkin Village.”

Continue reading “Survey: $142 Million Owed to Mental Health Providers as Psychiatrist Wait Times Mushroom, Services Shudder”

Ex-Small Biz Lobbyist Tapped for Mental Health Advocate Post, Funding Push

(Springfield, IL) – A veteran small business lobbyist has been hired to help handle state mental health government affairs for a top Illinois behavioral health advocacy group and to push to reverse state funding cuts opposed by Illinois voters.

Blanca Campos, chief operating officer for advocacy at the Illinois Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) from 2010 through 2016, has been recruited by the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois to help lead the group’s legislative advocacy in Springfield.

Campos, who earned in Masters of Public Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, will serve as CBHA’s behavioral health care advocate associate, according to the group’s chief.

“With seven years of legislative advocacy experience at the Small Business Advocacy Council, Blanca will significantly boost our advocacy fire power in the General Assembly,” said CBHA CEO Marvin Lindsey. “Blanca will be able to forcefully deliver to lawmakers not only our behavioral health message, but also our small business message that our members our crucial economics cogs in communities.”

During her work at the business group, Campos led the SBAC’s advocacy efforts to bring intrastate equity crowdfunding to Illinois, and helped pass legislation setting a 10% state procurement goal for small businesses. Prior to working for the SBAC, she worked in state legislative and congressional campaigns.

One of the messages that Campos will be delivering to lawmakers is the voting public’s support for greater investment in mental health care and drug treatment services, says Lindsey.

A July 26 automated poll of 826 likely Illinois voters conducted by Illinois Public Opinion Strategies found that 70.1% back “investing more money in mental health care” while just 11.5% support “investing less money” or a net +59 points. 18.4% were undecided.

The poll also found that 55.4% of likely voters support investing more money to “provide treatment to individuals struggling with drug addiction, such as addiction to heroin” and 27.2% support “investing less money.” 17.4% were undecided.

While mental health and drug treatment funding are strongly backed by voters, state funding for both programs has retreated in the last two years.

In Fiscal Year 2016, state addiction treatment contracts issued to community providers, with money coming from the state’s general revenue fund for drug treatment, were cut 25% from FY 2015 levels. Mental health care contracts saw a 21.8% cut. In 2017, addiction treatment contracts had 21.4% reduction and mental health got a 26.7% cut.

“Blanca will help communicate to lawmakers that their constituents want greater financial investment in behavioral healthcare – not less – and that an investment mandate exists for this human services priority,” said Lindsey. “I think that Blanca will be effective in delivering that message.”

Beyond her business background, Campos has also served on the Women’s Health Awareness Council, a collaborative program coordinated by the Women’s Health Initiative at Swedish Covenant Hospital in partnership with more than 30 elected officials, community leaders, major philanthropies and respected health care providers.

mlindsey@cbha.net