Gov. Pat Quinn's administration said it would appeal an arbitrator's ruling that said the state must end its two-year, $77 million contract with Maximus Health Services Inc. by December 31.
The private, for-profit company was hired to remove ineligible individuals from the Medicaid rolls as part of the state’s 2012 Medicaid reform legislation, the SMART Act. In June, Arbitrator Edwin Benn ruled that the agreement with Maximus violates the state’s contract with AFSCME.
option, however, to reach a possible out-of-court settlement with the
union is on the table, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family
Services Director Julie Hamos said at a House Appropriations-Human
Services Committee in Chicago Tuesday.
Leaders of AFSCME
Council 31 told lawmakers at the hearing that they would be open to
some sort of "hybrid" system, or one that ramps up the number of
state employees working to investigate Medicaid fraud while continuing
to use some of the outside contractor's services. Such a system could
prevent expensive legal action for both the state and the union, according to some of the meeting's attendees.
“I hope we won’t throw good money after bad,” said AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Henry Bayer.
AFSCME says the state would save $18 million a year by having public employees do the work instead of Maximus' 500 employees.
Meanwhile, activists in support of public services have been calling on the state to end the Maximus contract immediately. They say the contract has led to unjust Medicaid disqualifications. For example,
activists say Maximus has recommended cancelling medical cards if
people's phones were not in service or if notices sent in the mail to
people bounced back or got lost.
September 9, state workers have approved removing 75,707 people from the
Medicaid rolls out of 128,700 cases in which Maximus recommended
individuals be dropped from the program, according to the State