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Gov. Scott denies first contract: $18 million with MedSolutions for diagnostic imaging

With lawmakers debating putting Medicaid patients into managed care programs, Gov. Rick Scott this week canceled an $18 million Medicaid contract between MedSolutions and the Agency for Health Care Administration for outpatient imaging services. The contract was one of hundreds that has been sitting on Scott's desk since hours after his inauguration, waiting for approval from his Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform. Scott signed an executive order Jan. 4. requiring that any contract worth more than $1 million be approved by the office.

Since instituting the freeze, Scott has released millions of dollars in contracts to pay for everything from transportation projects to weatherizing the homes of low-income Floridians.

Last week, Scott released a Medicaid contract with the company Paragard to pay for intrauterine devices used for birth control. The devices are available at county health clinics throughout the state. The governor allowed the deal to go forward only after reducing it from a three-year $4.5 million contract to a one-year $850,00 expense.

Still on hold: SunRail contracts worth $238 million. One of them, a $168 million contract to design, build and operate the system, missed a Feb. 10 deadline to maintain its guaranteed maximum price. It has been extended to later this month. Documents provided to the governor by the Department of Transportation on Jan. 13 also say this: "Delaying the execution of this contract will result in risk" that could "jeopardize the federal funding." The Federal Transit Administration has agreed to send a funding agreement to Congress by March if contracts such as this one are rexecuted.

Here's the text of the "reason for denial" for the MedSolutions contract: "Beginning Fiscal Year 2005-06 through Fiscal Year 2008-09, the following proviso was inserted and continued in the General Appropriations Act: From the funds in Specific Appropriation XXX, the agency is authorized to implement a utilization management program for outpatient diagnostic services. To date, the agency never implemented a utilization management program for outpatient diagnostic services. Proviso language is only valid for one year. The last time the above-mentioned proviso was in the General Appropriations Act was Fiscal Year 2008-09. It is uncertain if the agency would still have authority to implement such a program. The agency is unable to provide an independent study or other supporting data which would validate significant savings to the Medicaid program if such a $18,000,000.00 program were implemented."