Texas' top health official last week shrugged off legal threats from executives of two public hospitals upset about the way the state is administering its Medicaid managed-care program.
"I get sued about two to three times a week," said Mike McKinney, M.D., the state's commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Resources. "I don't even read them anymore. I just turn them over to the lawyers." McKinney's remarks were made at a luncheon sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal, where he was the keynote speaker.
JPS Health System, the public hospital in Fort Worth, said it plans to sue the state over its implementation of a Medicaid managed-care plan. The system contends McKinney is implementing a wide-scale, managed-care system without federal approval (May 6, p. 2). In addition, Ron Anderson, M.D., president and chief executive of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, reportedly said his hospital may join the legal action.
"The Legislature sent us out to do Medicaid managed care," McKinney said. "I'm less concerned about getting sued than doing something wrong."
However, he hinted that an agreement might be worked out with the public hospitals. "I understand that the local hospital districts have a vested interest in getting this fixed," he added