Judge rules Passport managed-care plan for Medicaid in Louisville region is subject to state Open Records Act

As Kentucky prepares to put more of its Medicaid program under a managed-care system to save money, a judge has ruled that the contractor running the program’s only managed-care plan is a public agency subject to the state Open Records Act.

Ruling in a lawsuit filed by The Courier-Journal, Jefferson Circuit Judge Susan Schultz Gibson wrote, “Since Passport exists for the purpose of administering the Medicaid program on behalf of the Commonwealth, the sought records all appear to relate to Passport’s state-related operations.”

Passport, which can appeal the ruling, declined to comment. A consortium of Louisville-area hospitals, physicians and other health care providers, it serves about 165,000 poor and disabled Medicaid patients in 16 counties in the Louisville region under a $740 million annual contract. The state administers the program but most of its money comes from the federal government.

“While it has been praised by lawmakers for providing good care and saving the state money, it came under fire last year after a critical audit by state Auditor Crit Luallen,” Deborah Yetter writes for the Louisville newspaper. “The audit blasted Passport management for spending on meals, travel and lobbying, and it questioned the transfer of about $30 million in reserve funds to University Hospital and other physician groups and hospitals involved in Passport operations.” (Read more)

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