Gov. Beshear Provides Update on Louisville Demonstrations, COVID-19, and Medicaid

Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday said, as the state continues to address the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), outside groups are poised to create violence against peaceful demonstrators and law enforcement, in the demonstrations related to the death of Breonna Taylor.

This morning, the Governor issued a video message and signed a letter to deploy approximately 350 Kentucky National Guardsmen to help provide safety and protection to the citizens of Louisville.

In his message, the Governor said Breonna Taylor’s death was tragic and that he can never understand the depths of feelings many Kentuckians are experiencing, but he pledged to listen and do everything he could moving forward.

He added that the demonstrations started out peacefully, but especially last night, outside groups moved in and are trying to create violence and harm to everybody who is on the streets.

As of 4 p.m. May 30, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 9,704 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 247 of which were newly confirmed Saturday.

Friday’s cases were up a fair amount, the Governor said, “We have been reviewing the data from yesterday, and nearly half of the new cases were from long-term care, accounting for more than 37%, and another 9% of cases were from congregate care settings, mainly the federal prison in Lexington.”

He added, “We are reviewing today’s data to see if the pattern is continuing, which is largely a result of our expansive testing initiative in long-term care facilities.”

The Governor also said more than 65,800 tests were reported this week, which to date is believed to be the most in one week. That includes 62,862 PCR and 2,994 serology tests.

Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported 13 new deaths Saturday, raising the total to 431 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Saturday include 64-, 66- and 94-year-old men from Jefferson County; 86-, 93-, 67-, 84- and 90-year-old women from Jefferson County; a 72-year-old man from Nelson County; an 88-year-old woman from Gallatin County; a 81-year-old man from Metcalfe County; a 69-year-old man from Taylor County and a 70-year-old man from Hopkins County.

The Governor reminded Kentuckians to light their homes, places of business and places of worship green for compassion.

At least 3,232 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Gov. Andy Beshear and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander have announced the Commonwealth of Kentucky has awarded the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) contract to five health care companies that will manage benefits for the state’s Medicaid enrollees.

The five companies are Aetna, Humana, Molina Healthcare, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare. Aetna will also serve children in Kentucky SKY, the Medicaid risk-based managed care delivery program for the state foster care program and the Department for Juvenile Justice.

Secretary Friedlander said the Finance and Administration Cabinet issued the request for proposals January 10, 2020. After a transparent and competitively bid procurement process, the contracts were awarded Friday.

“We look forward to working with the MCOs to improve the health of all Kentuckians,” said Secretary Friedlander. “We have strengthened the contracts to make sure that these companies are responsive to the needs of all Kentuckians.”

Key changes to the contracts include a focus on improvement of quality measures; increased transparency; strengthened reporting and oversight requirements; and pharmacy program changes. The contracts also provide incentives to address social determinants of health, which include all the factors that directly or indirectly impact Kentuckians.

Current contracts with Aetna (via Coventry Cares), Anthem, Humana (via CareSource), Passport Health Plan and WellCare were set to expire June 30. A six-month extension will be added to the existing contracts to give ample time to bring the two new contractors, Molina Healthcare and UnitedHealthcare, on board for a Jan. 1, 2021, start date. The initial term of the new contracts is through Dec. 31, 2024, at which time the cabinet’s Department for Medicaid Services may extend the contracts by six additional two-year periods.

The Secretary said all members would receive detailed communications about what to expect over the next six months.

Gov. Beshear canceled the managed care contracts awarded by the outgoing governor’s administration in early December. The initial contract award created public outcry from both lawmakers and health policy experts, who raised concerns about the review process and bias regarding certain companies.

Managed Care is a health care delivery system designed to manage costs, utilization and quality. Medicaid managed care provides for the delivery of Medicaid health benefits and additional services through contracts between Medicaid and the MCOs that accept a set per member, per month payment for these services. By contracting with MCOs to deliver Medicaid health care services, states can reduce Medicaid program costs and better manage utilization of health services. Improvement in health plan performance, health care quality and health outcomes are key objectives of Medicaid managed care.

Ensuring access to affordable health care is a top priority for Gov. Beshear and his administration.

On Dec. 16, 2020, after being in office only 10 days, Gov. Beshear’s administration notified the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that he was ending the 1115 demonstration project, known as “Kentucky HEALTH,” that required Kentuckians to meet certain work requirements in order to have health insurance coverage.

Gov. Beshear also signed an executive order to protect the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides health care coverage to nearly 500,000 Kentuckians.

The contracts will soon be posted on the Finance and Administration Cabinet website.