D.C. picks three companies for Medicaid contracts

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray

The District said Wednesday that it plans to award managed care contracts to three companies, including one that recently received approval to purchase the provider formerly controlled by embattled campaign financier Jeffrey Thompson.

The D.C. Department of Health Care Finance will submit three contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to city lawmakers for review that would lead to deals for AmeriHealth Mercy, MedStar Family Choice and Thrive Health Plan.

"We began this process with the goal of revamping our managed care program in the shadows of national health care reform," Wayne Turnage, the department's director, said in a statement. "We are very pleased with the outcome of this important procurement."

Under the city's plan, the contracts will go into effect in July for a one-year period. Each deal also contains provisions for four option years.

Thrive will be receiving its first managed care contract in the District, but the department said its leaders have "significant experience in and knowledge of" the city's health care structure.

AmeriHealth is also poised to join the city's health care market with the contract and its purchase of Chartered Health Plan, which Thompson long owned.

Thompson has been implicated in the federal investigation of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign, but he has not been charged with a crime.

But his company was financially shaky, and the District seized control of it last fall before helping arrange the sale to Philadelphia-based AmeriHealth earlier this year.

The fate of that deal, though, was tied to the company winning a managed care deal with D.C.

MedStar, which is headquartered in Maryland, earned one of the District's Medicaid contracts for the first time just last year.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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