GENESEE COUNTY, MI – The chief executive officer of the Genesee Health Plan says district officials have started discussions about replacing his group as administrator of a program that will only help the working poor after they have urged millage funds for other uses to use.
“They wanted to take millage dollars and help with their budget deficit …” said Jim Milanowski, President and CEO of GHP. “Millage wasn’t chosen for that.”
The County Board of Commissioners voted last week to prepare a call for proposals for organizations interested in managing the uninsured health program after failing to reach an agreement on an updated contract with the Genesee Health Plan, which has been on the job more than 14 years fulfilled years.
Mark Young, county chairman of the board of directors, D-Grand Blanc, said Thursday April 22 that commissioners are not trying to take money from Millage for healthcare, which raises more than $ 9 million annually, but they want GHP to enroll inmates in the Millage program, a change that would save money for the county’s general fund.
“It’s just about making sure the Millage money is used to cover everyone in the county,” Young said.
Milanowski said GHP officials, who started with funding from hospitals and foundations in 2001, have to decide as an organization what to do next.
“This (decision to seek other suggestions) surprised us,” he said. “We kept our promises. We are confident that we can continue the work. “
GHP grew to 27,000 uninsured county’s residents after voters approved a nationwide property tax of 1 million in November 2006 in support of health programs for the uninsured working poor.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, that number has dropped to about 4,500, but Milanowski said the services have expanded and all Millage funds will continue to be used for services.
“We are very confident that everything can work out,” he said. “We really appreciated our relationship with the county.”
The CEO said he could not agree to an amended contract proposed by commissioners earlier this month due to issues including adding a language to allow inmates to enroll with GHP.
The proposal lacked details of how services would be provided and how invoices and payments would be made, Milanowski said.
“Our staff can’t just go to jail and enroll inmates,” he said.
Milanowski said the county has legal responsibility for inmate health care and GHP is only intended for those who have no other source of medical care.
The latest troubles between the county and GHP emerge seven months after Milanowski appeared before commissioners to speak against a proposed $ 1.5 million cut in its agency, a cut the county made before the current one was passed Has abandoned the budget.
A divided county board eventually approved a general fund budget of $ 99.6 million, with the cash reserves used to offset the county’s original proposed $ 1.5 million cut for GHP.
Milanowski said GHP has not yet received any millage funds from the county this year.
The amended contract proposal between the county and GHP stipulates that repayments will be made to the organization after it has submitted an invoice for the services it has provided.
The Commissioners have stated that the decision to solicit proposals from other groups interested in the implementation of the program is part of their oversight responsibility for taxpayers’ money.
Last year the county signed a Memorandum of Understanding with another organization that receives millage funds – the Flint Cultural Center – that requires county residents to get discounts on concert and show tickets if they pay a millage property tax that supports the arts.
Read more about MLive: