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Policy: Health Care

D.C. vows to help resolve millions in unpaid health claims

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray,Health Care

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray vowed on Thursday to provide "relief" to physicians and hospitals who may go unpaid after one of the city's most prominent managed care organizations acknowledged that it did not have the money to make good on millions of dollars in claims.

"In the light of the financial problems of Chartered, I will be taking steps to protect the District's health care provider network that has taken years for us to develop," Gray said in a statement. "My primary goal is to protect the stability of the community-based providers that will be at risk of closing their doors and turning away patients if there is a significant delay in being paid."

Gray said that his administration would offer "a plan that provides relief," but he did not elaborate.

A city official familiar with deliberations said the District would likely offer details of the plan within two weeks.

Gray is planning action days after insurance regulators said that Chartered, which was once controlled by embattled campaign donor Jeffrey Thompson, wouldn't pay up to $60 million in claims.

Chartered provided Medicaid services for years and served about 104,000 D.C. residents.

But its financial problems came into sharp focus in the aftermath of a raid last year at its offices as federal authorities probed Thompson's political giving. The District ultimately seized control of Chartered, and it was sold earlier this year to a Philadelphia-based firm.

Thompson, who has not been charged with a crime and has not spoken publicly about his conduct, is believed to have financed a $653,800 shadow campaign that benefited Gray's mayoral bid in 2010.

The mayor has denied wrongdoing. A federal investigation is ongoing.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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