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MetroHealth Receives Health Care Contract for Kids in Cuyahoga County Custody

March 4, 2019
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The February 20 meeting of the Cuyahoga County Health, Human Services and Aging Committee featured the approval of one contract, totaling $850,000, which covers the health care needs of children who are in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). The contract lasts for one year, from January 1 to December 30, 2019. MetroHealth will continue as the health care provider for children in DCFS custody. MetroHealth has provided the medical coverage for these children since the contract was established in 2013. The contract is initially funded by the county, then reimbursed by the state of Ohio through the State Child Protective Allocation (SCPA), which is mandated by the Ohio Revised Code.

The contract is initially funded by the county, then reimbursed by the state of Ohio through the State Child Protective Allocation (SCPA), which is mandated by the Ohio Revised Code.

Bob Math, from the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, testified about the contract, representing the Division of Children Adult Services. He opened by explaining that the contract’s main purpose is to ensure the safety of the children who are in DCFS custody. The contract covers medical screenings and assessments, which are available whenever a child enters DCFS custody, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, each child who enters DCFS will have access to follow up health care, including hearing and vision care. If a child is on behavioral health medication, MetroHealth offers a psychotropic medication consultation with the prescribing doctor and assists with the coordination of a treatment plan for the child. Lastly, the contract also included provisions to cover drug testing and toxicology funding for caregivers of children in DCFS custody to ensure each child’s safety.

Each child who enters DCFS will have access to follow up health care, including hearing and vision care.

This contract was offered in a Request for Proposals (RFP) in April 2018. The deadline was May 2018, and the county received only received one response, from MetroHealth. Once county officials reviewed the application, they set up a series of meeting with MetroHealth to discuss some details before recommending it to County Council. However, when the contract was awarded, in August 2018, MetroHealth wanted clarification on several legal questions. The legal team at MetroHealth met with Cuyahoga County’s Law Department to sort through the details. The legal teams finally got the contract back to county HHS officials on January 8, 2019. It was immediately forwarded to County Council and the HHSA committee for consideration.

Chairwoman Yvonne Conwell opened the time for questioning by asking if $850,000 for one year was enough.

Chairwoman Yvonne Conwell opened the time for questioning by asking if $850,000 for one year was enough. Math replied “probably not.” In past contracts, which lasted two years, the initial contract award amount was $1.3 million. Eventually, however, the money ran out and the administration requested an additional $850,000, bringing the contract total to $2.1 million, Math explained. That means the average was about $1.1 million per year. Conwell asked if MetroHealth was meeting its contractual terms. This prompted Karen Stormann, administrator of support services for DCFS, to approach the podium and say that MetroHealth was meeting its obligations.

Councilman Dale Miller clarified that this contract has always been with MetroHealth. Math said it was.

County Councilwoman Shontel Brown asked Math and Director of Health and Human Services Walter Parfejewiec to provide a more thorough breakdown of how the money is spent on each particular service (drug testing, assessments, etc.).

The contract was passed under second reading suspension, and the meeting was adjourned.

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