Connecticut legislators continue to debate a measure which would force the state's Medicaid HMOs to share more information on rates and services, though the bill has been watered down since it was filed. The Medicaid HMOs have fought this measure every step of the way, arguing that these data points are trade secrets. And they seem to be having some success: while the original bill would have defined HMO contracts with the state as subject to freedom of information laws, making operational standards and physician payment rates a matter of public record, that language has been removed from the current draft of the bill.
Meanwhile, however, the Medicaid HMOs are getting pressure from other directions. Rulings from the state's Freedom of Information Commission, as well as a state superior court judge, conclude that by managing the state's $722 million Medicaid program, the HMOs are performing a government function. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has ruled that the state's Department of Social Services is entitled to these information as part of its contract relationship, even if the freedom of information clauses aren't passed by the legislature.
To learn more about the Medicaid HMO data fight:
- read this Hartford Courant item