April 07, 2007
Frew settlement

Didn't get to this yesterday, but we appear to have a settlement in the Frew lawsuit, pending approval of the judge.

A source close to the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the state would spend more than $500 million in additional general revenue over the next two-year budget period to meet the terms of the agreement. That would be substantially less than the price tag of as much as $5 billion some lawmakers worried might be quickly due.

The state spending would trigger more federal funding.

The source said that among high points are large increases in reimbursement rates for doctors and dentists who treat Medicaid patients, considered a key element in expanding the number of health care providers available to them.


Susan Zinn, a lawyer representing the interests of the children on Medicaid, said she thinks U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice, who has a hearing scheduled Monday in the case, will "wait until he's sure the Legislature comes through with the funding before deciding whether to approve the settlement."

Zinn would not disclose the total cost to the state but confirmed that the agreement included a rate increase of 25 percent for doctors who serve children in the Medicaid program and 50 percent for dentists.

"Our hope is that with the increases in reimbursement rates, more doctors and dentists will be willing to take care of the children so more of the children can get the care that they need," she said, adding that dentists "have been left behind in terms of reimbursement rates, even more so than the doctors."

Zinn said there also is some extra money for payments to doctors who provide specialized services, such as pediatric cardiologists.

Hopefully that will be that, and we can do what is right going forward. Note that this validates the CPPP view as to the total cost of the settlement. Burka has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 07, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo