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Monday, July 16, 2012

FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS KENTUCKY CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES IN CONTEMPT OF COURT. SO WHEN WILL STATE JUDGE SHEPHARD FOLLOW?

Judge holds Kentucky health cabinet in contempt

LEXINGTON, KY. — A federal judge held the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services in contempt of court on Monday over a Medicaid dispute in Eastern Kentucky.

U.S. Senior Judge Karl S. Forester, in a six-page opinion, wrote that the cabinet has failed to comply with a May court order that allowed patients to transfer from Medicaid insurance company Coventry Cares, which has sought to sever its contract with Appalachian Regional Healthcare.

ARH, a network of eight hospitals in the region, has accused the cabinet of hindering transfers for 8,400 patients who have requested a switch from Coventry to WellCare of Kentucky, another Medicaid company that still has a contract with ARH.

Forester said he will consider possible sanctions at a later date but will not force the cabinet to process the transfers considering that the new open enrollment period for Medicaid will begin on Aug. 20, allowing patients to switch companies on their own.

“The court is also concerned that there has been so much confusion regarding this contract termination that any further letters or activity at this point may only make matters worse,” Forester wrote.

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