In a move that caught many people by surprise, the attorney for almost 30 years for the MHA (Minnesota Hospital Association) was abruptly terminated in response to a video that he helped produce.
The video was authored and produced by Dr. David Feinwachs who has been the corporate attorney for the MHA since 1980. Feinwachs was “released” from responsibilities in late November in apparent response to vehement objections to its content by various HMOs in Minnesota. Minnesota’s HMOs were the subject of the video along with the state healthcare programs that they have been allowed to run since 1983.
At issue in the video is the double-standard and lack of accountability that is now the rule for the non-profit HMOs in Minnesota (by law, all Minnesota HMOs are required to be organized as non-profit entities). Feinwachs describes the accountability problem as a “black box.” State “tax dollars go into the black box” of HMO accounting in the form of $3 billion dollars in tax money every biennium, and they are “never accounted for” in any meaningful way, according to Feinwachs.
Feinwachs considers the current system of handing over healthcare tax dollars to the HMOs fiscally irresponsible and something that needs fixing.
The video illustrates the lack of oversight in a simple and understandable fashion and asks viewers to consider the question of why no accounting of funds has been demanded for these tax dollars, and why this *demonstration project has been allowed to continue unmonitored.
The response to the video’s content from the HMOs through the MN Council of Health Plans (MCHP), the organization which is made up of HMOs in the state, has been that they are monitored and are accountable to the state.
Feinwachs addresses that by saying they (the HMOs) are allowed to self report their expenditures and they don’t follow the same standard as any other group receiving state tax dollars. He goes on to say that they are also not subject to any competitive bidding process, which is also unique to organizations receive state money.
As a well known and highly respected member of the healthcare industry as part of the MHA, Feinwach’s firing has generated a huge amount of interest. Related to that, KSTP-TV reporter Jay Kolls has done an investigative piece on the story and plans to follow legislative activity related to the issue of HMO accountability.
Seven County and the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) has contended for years that turning over state run programs without regulations or accountable standards has always been a huge waste of state resources. Efforts to urge accountability hearings have been an ongoing priority with GMHCC and its coalition partners for years.
State “tax dollars go into the black box” of HMO accounting in the form of $3 billion dollars in tax money every biennium, and they are “never accounted for…”
* (the original legislation that created the system of allowing HMOs to handle all state-run programs was called a “demonstration project”)
To watch the video: