Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of August 6th 2018

Soundtrack for today’s RoundUp pessimist readers-

For optimist readers-

(There is somewhat serious talk of a Mostly Medicaid sing-along at the MHPA conference in DC in October. Sign up here and send me a note if you want to join the band –


FIRST A SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY NEW i2i PEEPS- Had an amazing time in PHX (even if it was 147 degrees, Celsius) with the i2i team this week. Got to see all the really cool, market leading things this team does in the Medicaid space. Check out their website here –

AND WE’RE OFF! / PINCH ME I’M DREAMING- The NC managed care RFP was released yesterday. After so long expecting it, its hard to believe its finally here. Know who I really feel bad for in all this? The RFP reviewers. Best I know EVERYONE is bidding on this thing…

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? The Ohio Medicaid saga around spread pricing by PBMs is ramping up. Optum joined the CVS lawsuit this week to keep the secret sauce secret. State officials want to release data on how much the PBM is charging beyond price of drugs; CVS and Optum don’t like that none too much. Stay tuned. Will cover on Monday’s news show if you can join.

NEW MANAGED CARE REGS UNDER WAY? In addition to possibly revisiting the MegaRule itself, CMS has started the review process for new MCO regs around provider enrollment. OMB apparently got it on Aug 3.

LONESTAR STATE GETS $110M FROM RX SUIT- AstraZeneca will pay out a truckload of cash (that’s nearly enough to pay off Iran in the middle of the night- oh wait that was $172B….) to Texas to settle allegations it marketed Seroquel and Crestor for off-label indications to docs. They apparently were already in trouble for similar shenanigans when they did this particular bit of Double-Plus UnGood.


YOU KNOW THERE’S A LOT OF WORK TO GET READY FOR EXPANSION. NOW IF ONLY CMS WOULD APPROVE IT- Regs have to be updated, systems prepared, sister agencies brought on board. TONS of work (check the twitter feed for an article on the efforts to get ready for expansion in VA). You just don’t think about these things when you view “expansion” as a magic spell cast over the land.


ANOTHER STUDY REFUTING THE CLAIM THAT MOST MEDICAID EXPANSION BENNIES WORK ALREADY- A nonpartisan (Lefties can claim that word for their think tanks, so why can’t Righties?) Idaho think tank says bah humbug to the coordinated studies showing work requirements won’t matter based on the dubious claim that most subject to the requirement are already working. When the Foundation for Government Accountability (who the heck really wants that anyway?) looked at Illinois, it found 70% of bennies who could work were not working. FGA also estimates that nationally 6.8M (out of 12.4M expansion bennies, who likely could work) are working already.


FL MCO AWARD PROTESTS SETTLING DOWN- A FL judge has ruled that Best Care Assurance has no standing in the protests, because it didn’t weigh in when Molina protested. Gotta play to win, folks.


FARRIS’S FANTASTIC FRAUD FOLLIES– And now for everybody’s favorite paragraph. Let’s start the ticker and see who wins this week’s award. Shahrzad Haghayegh-Askarian of Norwell, MA was indicted this week for stealing $200k by billing under another dentist’s name. She’s another 2-time offender, paying out $300k in 2015 for other fraud charges. LaGracia Burnett of Haverford, Delaware was convicted this week of $211,492 in Medicaid fraud. She was a traveling therapist and got paid using false claims for behavioral health services in multiple counties. Thomas J. McLaughlin and Joseph Campione of North Andover, MA have to pay back $612k to Medicaid patients that they charged for Suboxone (so they got paid twice- once by Medicaid and again by the patients). Elena Kurbatzky operated a home care fraud AND she herself was a Medicaid bennie. This may be a first. In addition to the cash she stole from MA, she also hid her $2.3M income so she could herself get Medicaid benefits. You go girl! I think Ms. Haghayegh-Askarian is the clear winner. Her perseverance in continuing to steal even after her 1st conviction should inspire us all. Taxpayers – make sure to work extra hours this weekend. We have at least $1.5M to make up for with these cases alone.


That’s it for this week. As always, please send me a note with your thoughts to or give me a buzz at 919.727.9231. Get outside (cut down those browning sunflowers if you planted them; or let them dry in place and drop their seeds. According to my hunter friends, this will bring doves.) and keep running the race (you know who you are).

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