Beacon Health accused of untimely payments amid Anthem takeover

Beacon Health Options, the nation's largest independently held behavioral health organization, faces accusations from mental health providers and state officials that its payments are sometimes late, according to Crain's New York Business.

The New York Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, which represents about 100 mental health and substance use organizations, said its members have reported denial rates from Beacon that are higher than average, the group told Crain's. The complaints come after the state's top health officials notified 10 Medicaid plans in November about "serious concerns" with Beacon's performance.

The accusations come as Anthem entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Beacon for an undisclosed amount. Regarding these alleged issues, an Anthem spokesperson told Crain's, "Collectively, both businesses will be able to enhance whole person care and improve overall health outcomes with a stronger portfolio of specialized products, more clinical expertise, improved analytics and health data, and broader provider networks and relationships."

In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Beacon said, "Beacon Health Options is focused on ensuring that providers are compensated accurately and timely for the vital behavioral health services they provide to our members in New York. We have been working closely and collaboratively with the Department of Health and related agencies, the Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and our clients to fully address these issues and prevent them from happening in the future. Beacon's commitment to the health and sustainability of the mental health safety net is unwavering."

Beacon, based in Boston, serves more than 36 million individuals nationwide.

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