The transition to a new managed behavioral health organization in Arizona's most populous behavioral health authority - Maricopa County - was supposed to be nearing completion now under the leadership of Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care. But that transition went by the wayside when Magellan Health Services of Arizona, the incumbent MBHO, alleged shortly after the announcement of the contract award in March that it would contest the award, claiming that the Mercy Maricopa Group broke the bid rules.
Judge Diane Mihalsky of Arizona's Office of Administrative Hearings will hear the appeal, which pits Magellan against the Arizona Department of Health Services. According to DBHS administrator Cory Nelson, "The next few weeks are very important in the continued transition to the implementation of the Integrated Care RBHA in Maricopa County. Our current contractor Magellan has exercised their due process under the procurement code and contested the award." The hearing, which was extended to multiple days at Magellan's request, should be concluded within about a week.
In the meantime, to avoid disruption to ADHS consumers served by the contract, Nelson said that "ADHS has extended the current Magellan contract for up to six months," though contract language makes it possible for either party to exit the agreement, with notice, in January." Nelson added that the contract extension "takes into account the length of time it may take for the judge to hear the case and make a recommendation, the Arizona Department of Administration to make a ruling based on that recommendation, and for ADHS to make appropriate plans. We want to make sure that members remain the focus of our efforts and do not get overlooked during these complex administrative processes."