The Washington Post

Catania calls hearing on Chartered Health settlement

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.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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