Despite high hopes that a quick resolution to the mess left by dissolution of D.C. Chartered Health Plan could be in the offing, it appears that city health-care providers will have to wait more than a month to start receiving the nearly $50 million they are owed from the now defunct managed-care firm.
Hospitals, clinics and doctors cannot expect reimbursements until Chartered’s receiver enters into a final settlement with the city’s Department of Health Care Finance over a long-standing rate dispute, and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signs off on the deal.
At a D.C. Superior Court hearing Wednesday, there was little discussion of the settlement, which must be approved by the judge in the ongoing receivership case. But lawyers hinted that the agreement could be ready for court approval in time for the next status hearing, set for Aug. 21.
That means it is unlikely providers will see payments this month, which had been the timetable previously offered by Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage. On Wednesday, Turnage said the settlement talks are continuing and “we are very hopeful [reimbursements] will happen before September.”
The receiver, Daniel L. Watkins, said it’s unlikely the judge will approve the deal before the Aug. 21 hearing. “I don’t anticipate anything could happen before that,” he said. “We’ve got to get an agreement first and get it in front of the court.”
The settlement could be further complicated if Chartered’s owner, Jeffrey E. Thompson, disputes the proposed settlement between the city and receiver. Lawyers for Thompson, the key figure in an ongoing political corruption investigation, previously challenged the sale of key company assets — unsuccessfully — and were again in court Wednesday.