Tensions Heat Up Between FamilyCare and OHA

FamilyCare insists the OHA asked other CCOs to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit; a claim the OHA flatly denies.

The contentious battle between FamilyCare Health and the Oregon Health Authority shows no signs of letting up. 

Last week, a Marion County judge denied a motion filed by the state of Oregon, which tried to dismiss the lawsuit filed by FamilyCare. .

Jeff Heatherington, CEO and president of FamilyCare, contends his CCO has been paid the lowest rates by the Oregon Health Authority for the past three years.

Before the judge ruled, Heatherington insists the agency went too far, by asking the other CCOs to intervene in the lawsuit and protect their own self-interest, citing a July 14 letter by Renee Stineman, an attorney with the Department of Justice, that was sent to those CCOs.

FamilyCare has asked the court for data and other information to assess the soundness and fairness of OHA’s past rate-setting process. The agency contends such information should be treated as a trade secret.

“We get concerned when we hear those sorts of claims,” Jack Coleman, director of communications at FamilyCare, told The Lund Report. “We believe there shouldn’t be trade secrets when it comes to publicly funded programs like Medicaid.”

“It looks like the OHA’s communication plan is still operating,” said Heatherington, referring to the attempt by Director Lynne Saxton to devise a secret plan against FamilyCare to plant negative stories in other publications. He said Saxton also intervened during the legislative session to thwart a bill sponsored by FamilyCare that dealt with rate reimbursement. Her last day on the job is August 31.

Keely L. West, JD, the internal litigation coordinator for the OHA, told The Lund Report her agency “did not initiate any mass communication” with the CCOs about the FamilyCare lawsuit.

“It’s agency practice not to have external conversations about litigation and if there were questions about the litigation that would have been our response,” she said. ”The agency, as far as I’ve been able to determine, did not initiate any mass communication.”

LINK TO WEST

West provided The Lund Report with a letter that was sent to the CCOs that was not related to FamilyCare’s lawsuit.

“It related to a pre-litigation public records request by FamilyCare for information that many of the CCOs consider to be trade secret. The other attached email is a query from a CCO asking to locate this letter.”

The court is expected to hold another hearing Sept. 21 on FamilyCare’s lawsuit. Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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OHA attorney quote:

"Keely L. West, JD, the internal litigation coordinator for the OHA, told The Lund Report her agency “did not initiate any mass communication” with the CCOs about the FamilyCare lawsuit."

July 14, 2017 letter from DOJ to the CCO's

ELLEN F. ROSENBLUM
Attorney General

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

TRIAL DIVISION

July 14, 2017
FREDERICK M. BOSS
Deputy Attorney General

To:  AIICare CCO, Inc.

Cascade Health Alliance, LLC c/o Registered Agent

Columbia Pacific CCO, LLC c/o Registered Agent

Eastern Oregon CCO, LLC c/o Registered Agent

Jackson Care Connect c/o Registered Agent 

Health Share of Oregon c/o Registered Agent

lntercommunity Health Network CCO c/o Registered Agent

Pacific Source Community Solutions c/o Registered Agent

PrimaryHealth, c/o Registered Agent

Trillium Community Health Plan, Inc. c/o Registered Agent

Umqua Health Alliance c/o Registered Agent

Western Oregon Advanced Health, LLC c/o  Registered Agent

Willamette Valley Community Health, LLC c/o  Registered Agent

Yamhill Community Care c/o  Registered Agent

Re:    FamilyCare,  Inc. v. Oregon  Health Authority
Marion County Circuit Court Case No. l 7CV09226

 

 

July 14, 2017

Dear  Registered Agent:

This office represents Oregon Health Authority in the above-referenced lawsuit brought by FamilyCare. In conjunction with the lawsuit, OHA has received the enclosed request for production from FamilyCare seeking to obtain certain documents provided by you to OHA.

OHA intends to comply with its discovery obligations in the lawsuit. However, OHA understands you may want to seek protection for your possible trade secrets. To address these two potentially competing interests, OHA issued the enclosed objections to certain of FamilyCare's requests on the grounds that they seek documents of third parties that may be trade secret. However, whether a document is appropriately considered trade secret is a fact-based analysis, the outcome of which may vary from CCO to CCO in this case. OHA does not possess all the facts necessary to accurately determine which of the documents FamilyCare seeks to obtain may be, or in fact are, trade secrets of third parties. This determination should be made initially by you and then, if necessary, by the Court. Therefore, subject to a court order or other legal requirement to the alternative, OHA will refrain from producing any responsive documents provided by you to OHA until after July 28, 2017, to allow for you to decide whether you will seek to protect documents from further disclosure, or seek exemption from discovery from the Court.  We have enclosed for your reference the stipulated protective order entered in the lawsuit.

If you take no action by July 28, OHA intends to proceed with its discovery obligations, which may result in production of documents originally received from CCOs to FamilyCare. If, by July 28, you take appropriate steps to protect your documents or seek exemption from discovery, upon request, OHA will consider any objections or proposed alternatives to production.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact me, or if you are represented by counsel, please have your counsel contact me.

Sincerely,

s/ Renee Stineman

Renee Stineman Attorney-in-Charge

Enclosures

cc:    FamilyCare, Inc., c/o Counsel of Record