By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Alabama’s Medicaid agency is asking contract review to approve a $1,199,750.00 increase with Optumas an Arizona-based health care reform consulting group. The contract would total $3,199,250.00.
Optumas reform proposals in 2013 led to 23 words which would have given American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI) a monopoly over Alabama’s Medicaid pharmacy benefit management program.
In 2013 Optumas’ analysis showed Medicaid would achieve a significant saving under a pharmacy benefit management program.
After publishing that Contract Review was considering APCI as a vendor, a spokesperson for Medicaid clarified the agency had no plans to contract with any organization for pharmacy-related services other than those currently employed
The Agency currently a contract for prior approval and other pharmacy services and another contract for clinical support of the state Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee which makes decisions about our Preferred Drug List, according to the agency.
In 2014, the Medicaid Pharmacy Commission considered the impact on local communities of making changes to Medicaid’s pharmacy program. “One proposal called for the use of a private pharmacy benefit management program while another proposed solution would use the Alabama-based American Pharmacy Cooperative to manage the program. A third proposal would allow Wal-Mart to serve as a preferred provider in exchange for lower costs to Medicaid.”
One of the 12 counts former Speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted of cited the consulting contract between APCI and Auburn Network that would have added 23 words to the General Fund Budget to give APCI a monopoly over Alabama’s Medicaid Pharmacy Benefits Management.
APCI’s proposal would name the company as the manager of Alabama Medicaid prescription benefits. The other two proposals being discussed include a private pharmacy benefit management program and an agreement with Wal-Mart to serve as a preferred provider, in exchange for lower costs to the program. The agenda lists for this item an increase of close to $3.2 million.
Other items on the 35-page agenda include over $2 million in legal service contracts, including those for the impeachment process and courts, and over $36 million related to Corrections and Medicaid.
According to the agenda, Corrections seeks to extend its contract with Community Education Centers, Inc., for $8.9 million through lobbyists Dax Swatek and Greg Jones. The company has provided substance-abuse counseling, rehabilitation and training to prison inmates since 2012. The agenda summary states that the program helps, “reduce prison crowding by transitioning medium security inmates to work release/community centers.”
The Department of Corrections has also hired the engineering and architecture firm, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., to do a statewide audit of the DOC buildings and their suitability, for supporting current bed capacity.
In the last session of the legislature, Gov. Bentley asked for an $800 million mega-prison which failed on the last day. In recent weeks, he has stated that he will be bringing it back in 2017.
Also, the Examiner of Public Accounts seeks $52,000 for a review of operations, organization and management of the department.
The Department of Finance is on the list requisition between $300 and $500,000 annually for nine claims adjusters.
All told, there are 19 legal service contracts involving 10 State agencies and 49 submittals for contracts.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported APCI was under review, not Optumas.