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New Mexico Extends Medicaid Contracts Amidst Procurement Controversy

The $41,200 Centene Corporation investment in Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s reelection campaign has paid off.

New Mexico’s Human Services Department has announced its decision to extend the contracts with existing health insurance providers. This decision comes amidst a controversy surrounding the procurement process and the involvement of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The contracts between the Human Services Department and three health insurance companies, which administer the state’s Medicaid program, were originally set to expire at the end of this year. However, due to the unexpected halt in the procurement process initiated by Governor Lujan Grisham, the department was unable to finalize new providers in time.

To ensure uninterrupted healthcare coverage for the approximately 1 million New Mexicans enrolled in Medicaid, the department has chosen to extend the contracts of the existing providers for an additional six months. This decision aims to guarantee continuity of care for vulnerable populations during the transition period.

According to Marina Piña, an agency spokeswoman, the Human Services Department is currently in the final stages of evaluating the new request for proposals (RFP) from health insurance companies. The department’s top priority is to ensure that all Medicaid recipients successfully renew their coverage as the Medicaid unwinding period, which ends in April 2024, approaches. The federal government has decided to terminate automatic Medicaid renewals, a measure that was put in place during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Piña further explained, “In order to complete the unwinding prior to transitioning to new MCO contracts, we are planning to collaborate with our current health plans, known as Managed Care Organizations (MCO), to extend their contracts to July 1, 2024.” This extension aims to minimize disruptions in healthcare delivery and facilitate a smooth transition to the new MCO contracts.

The decision to extend the existing contracts reflects the aftermath of Governor Lujan Grisham’s controversial interference in the procurement process. The governor’s abrupt cancellation of the initial RFP drew criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Concerns were raised regarding the transparency and integrity of the process, as well as the potential influence of campaign contributions from insurance companies such as Centene Corporation and its subsidiary, Western Sky Community Care.

The Southwest Public Policy Institute previously reported that campaign finance records revealed significant contributions totaling $41,200 to Governor Lujan Grisham’s reelection fund from Centene Corporation, Western Sky Community Care, and their affiliates. Notably, Western Sky Community Care, which is an existing Medicaid provider, received the lowest score among the bidders and was not recommended for a new contract.

It looks like the $41,200 Centene Corporation investment in Governor Lujan Grisham’s reelection campaign has paid off.

2 replies on “New Mexico Extends Medicaid Contracts Amidst Procurement Controversy”

I am not sure $41k is enough to throw a procurement. However, you may want to look into the company Centurion, a Centene Subsidiary who runs the prison health system in the state. Also look for individuals that made unusually large donations and their connection to Centene.

Look into the $2M PBM fraud settlement Centene gave NM last summer. Did not go to court, just settled. Is that linked to this procurement?

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