Mid Atlantic again offers HMO to some on Medicaid State gives approval for Optimum Choice

November 16, 1993

Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc. said yesterday that it has resumed marketing Optimum Choice Inc., a health maintenance organization, to Medicaid recipients in Baltimore City and 10 Maryland counties.

The Rockville company said it had received permission from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to resume selling the HMO after working out problems in providing care for Medicaid enrollees.

The company cannot enroll customers in 13 other counties, however, until the state is satisfied that doctor networks are in place, state officials said yesterday. The company voluntarily stopped selling the HMO Oct. 22 after state officials confronted officials with complaints about specialty care and services.

Company Chairman George T. Jochum said Mid Atlantic had been working since Oct. 22 to solve problems associated with providing mental health services to patients in rural areas.

Optimum Choice began enrolling Medicaid recipients in August. Problems arose, however, because new patients were erroneously told they could continue to use their regular doctors after they enrolled.

The HMO lacks practitioners in some specialty areas, such as mental health, and Optimum Choice has been forced to pay county or community health clinics to provide that care.

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