A multicounty health care plan still had a pulse Tuesday.
Last month, Crow Wing County commissioners reluctantly terminated their pursuit of a health plan they said would increase service and save money. Tuesday the board changed course and agreed to join other area counties in challenging a state decision.
The health care plan proposal, called county-based purchasing, involved five area counties -- Crow Wing, Cass, Wadena, Morrison and Todd. County-based purchasing is a system -- operated by a county or group of counties -- to provide a localized health care option for Medical Assistance and general assistance clients.
Crow Wing County proposed joining the multicounty plan to be part of South Country Health Alliance, which serves multiple counties in southern Minnesota.
Kevin Goodno, Minnesota Department of Human Services commissioner, told Crow Wing County he could not support the county's plan. The state's sticking point was a single managed care organization providing service in the county. The counties had the option to appeal Goodno's decision to an advisory board. Wadena County decided to spearhead the appeal. Cass, Todd and Morrison counties joined the appeal.
Crow Wing County commissioners were worried about spending more money on due diligence for a health plan that may not succeed.
South Country Health Alliance met with legislators, including Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, and language was developed that could be added to the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill. The language states the commissioner of human services shall not reject a county-based purchasing health plan because of the sole-source basis if implementing the proposal did not limit a person's choice or access to services. The language also states the commissioner shall request federal approval, if needed, to permit or maintain the sole-source purchasing option.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at renee.richardson@ brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.
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