Columbia United Providers (CUP) is a community-based nonprofit plan that serves 89 percent of the Medicaid Managed Care population in Washington’s Clark County. CUP has managed the health care needs for local Medicaid patients since 1994. However, those 47,000 Medicaid patients may have to start looking for new doctors. Here’s why:

The Health Care Authority, the state agency that oversees eight health care programs, has selected five health insurance plans to bid on providing Medicaid services to Washington residents. Columbia United Providers was not afforded the opportunity.

The insurance plans that are selected will manage care for Washington’s Healthy Options and Basic Health members, who are mostly women and children. While CUP filed a formal protest over the decision, the contracts were finalized February 29 and will go into effect from July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013.

CUP’s protests was shot down, but the nonprofit plans to take its cause a step further. They plan on challenging Washington’s decision in Clark County Superior Court.

“The HCA’s actions will severely undermine the care coordination infrastructure in southwest Washington, undermine our work to control Medicaid costs, and undermine the health of Clark County citizens,” said Dr. Lisa Morrison, Medical Director for CUP.  “We strongly believe that without the CUP network in place, the Medicaid recipients in Clark County will not be able to access care beyond hospital emergency rooms.”

It is MBA’s stance that the state needs community-run non-profits administering benefits, and leaving Columbia United Providers out is detrimental to Clark County and the Medicaid population in Washington.