* 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.