Last week, the District’s Department of Health Care Finance announced that it had settled a contracting dispute with D.C. Chartered Health Plan for $10.2 million.
Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage said that the case was settled after city-employed consultants determined that city had a $10 million “exposure” over a 2006 request that Chartered increase its reimbursement rates to dentists in order to increase children’s access to dental care.
But when D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) heard about the payout to the city’s largest and longest-standing Medicaid managed care provider, he was nigh on apoplectic, questioning the need to “make whole” a contractor that paid the city $12 million to settle an improper billings claim not three years ago. Any losses, he argues, are the fault of Chartered or the consultants — not the city.
He is now seeking more answers. Catania has called a hearing for 1 p.m. next Monday “to provide an opportunity for the Council to become fully informed regarding the nature of the underlying issue and the details and circumstances of the settlement,” according to a hearing notice.
More to the point, it is a chance for Catania to put the klieg lights on Chartered’s low-profile and politically connected chairman, Jeffrey E. Thompson. He has been sent an invitation to testify, a Catania aide said. Last week, Washington City Paper highlighted Thompson’s unmatched generosity to city political candidates.
Turnage and city legal officials have also been asked to appear.