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What’s the holdup, HFS?

Friday, Jul 31, 2020

* There is big money at stake here…

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is calling on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to release contracting data from state Medicaid providers on their use of Black-owned businesses for professional services.

“Black-owned businesses that provide professional services deserve a fair chance to compete for contracts and provide services to the companies and organizations that insure most Illinoisans,” Welch said. “That’s why I’m calling for the release of data from the Illinois Medicaid program on whether its providers are acting in an equitable and inclusive manner in their businesses.”

Welch sent a letter to HFS director Theresa Eagleson calling for the department to release data from state Medicaid providers on their use of Black-owned businesses for professional services. HFS oversees the Illinois Medicaid program and serves as the largest insurer in the state according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), a bicameral, nonpartisan research unit of the General Assembly. HFS primarily operates Medicaid in Illinois through managed care organizations (MCOs), which provide patients access to networks of medical professionals and health services. Welch is seeking data on the MCOs to ensure that they are inclusive and equitable in their use of Black-owned businesses for professional services.

“Economic justice and racial justice are two sides of the same coin and it is critical that Illinois and all of its partners in providing public services are focused on ensuring racial and economic justice for African Americans and Black-owned businesses,” Welch said. “The largest health insurance program in our state should and the providers that serve that program must have a commitment to equity and inclusivity in contracting.”

I FOIA’d the agency about this topic, but I didn’t get what I needed. That’s mainly my fault for the way I phrased the request. I’ll be trying again soon, but I really shouldn’t have to even file a FOIA and Rep. Welch has been trying to get at this same info for weeks and weeks. It was promised to him and that promise was never fulfilled.

This is totally inexcusable. Stop stonewalling, already.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Derek Smalls - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    Executive Order 1 (2019) has been taking a beating lately. Maybe the Governor needs to reissue and update. Always fun to make transparency promises in a campaign and early in an administration, actual performance is a different story.

  2. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    My guess is HFS is looking at its own data to find out how bad it is and how to possibly spin it.

  3. - Really? - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    Until the state starts forcing contractors to use minorities, the BEP program will remain a joke.

  4. - DoinStuff - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    The delay implies to me that the BEP numbers are no where near where they should be.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    ===The delay implies to me===


  6. - Raising Kane - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    I don’t know why HFS would stonewall Chris Welch. He has emerged as one of the strongest voices in the BC. His fight for economic justice in cannabis and now in health care are big first steps in improving the economic outlook in minority communities.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:06 am:

    ===The delay implies to me that the BEP numbers are no where near where they should be.===

    The reality of that with stonewalling is… what will eventually be seen, the waiting will be seen far worse than how the numbers may eventually be.

    Get ahead of bad news, don’t stall to try to have answers for them. These excuses better be really good.

  8. - Cloud Surfer - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    ===My guess is HFS is looking at its own data to find out how bad it is and how to possibly spin it==

    My guess is the delay also has to do with giving the MCOs time to prepare their spin on the numbers.

  9. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    “Until the state starts forcing contractors to use minorities, the BEP program will remain a joke.”

    The US Supreme Court, in City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co. (1989) ruled that, with very limited exceptions, governments could not “force” a specified percentage of procurement dollars to be used with minority vendors. It is comments like this that feed the trolls.

  10. - Raising Kane - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    I believe The Richmond case is why disparity studies are required before setting MBE requirements. Most states did that shortly after Richmond and continue to update them.

  11. - Lurker - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    Their Director has acknowledged this as a problem and I am doubting that they are concealing. More likely to me they cannot get the answers. They are woefully understaffed as their agency has the most open positions on the Illinois employment site.

  12. - Perrid - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    “giving the MCOs time to prepare their spin on the numbers”

    somewhere between this and just getting the MCOs to give them ANY numbers, and then check to make sure the numbers are being reported the same way between the half dozen different MCOs. I have no doubt there will be spin, but there’s also some actual logistical problems in getting correct and understandable data from multiple companies, I would imagine.

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