Tensions Heat Up Between FamilyCare and OHA
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].