LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Construction on the Passport Health Plan building in Louisville’s west end has been delayed.
The move comes as the non-profit provider of health insurance to many of Kentucky’s low-income citizens said it will be out of business within a month if the state does not restructure how it reimburses Medicaid payments.
Passport has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Circuit Court against the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services seeking immediate and long-term relief from a reduction in reimbursement rates that impact Medicaid beneficiaries in and around Louisville.
“To me, totally unjustifiable that the for profit providers under the managed care system in Kentucky got increases in their reimbursement, and Passport got decreases,” Congressman John Yarmuth said.
Officials with the company said work on the new headquarter building at 18th Street and Broadway is on hold while the organization tries to resolve a dispute with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services.
The Louisville-based organization is asking a judge to bar the state from imposing Medicaid reimbursement cuts and repay millions of dollars in cuts for the past eight months. The suit names Gov. Matt Bevin’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services as the defendant.
Rep. John Yarmuth, (D) Kentucky 3rd District, learned of the development while interviewing with WAVE 3 News and was already scheduled to meet with Passport CEO Mark Carter afterward. The congressman said he is hopeful the Kentucky delegation can be helpful in Washington for the non-profit health care provider.
“This is not just an attack on a non-profit it’s also an attack on Louisville and Louisville residents,” he said. “I don’t in any way criticize Passport’s action. They are under the gun and it’s an unfair gun pointed at their heads.”
Yarmuth also said that payments to private insurance companies from state Medicaid has increased while Passport’s share has dropped.
“This greatly saddens me because of the promise it holds for a vital part of our community," Carter said. "But, our immediate priority is to preserve the future of our organization, for the more than 310,000 members we serve and our nearly 700 employees.”
“Seven hundred employees were going to locate and drive every day into West Louisville,” Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith said.
Another 300 new jobs were promised, in addition to new businesses opening around the new Passport Health Center.
If the new Passport building doesn’t happen, Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said it will be catastrophic for West Louisville and the city in general.
Construction on the building started in March 2018 and will be halted once the site is secure.