Noteworthy News

States Seek New Ways to Manage Health Care Costs

As states continue to struggle with budget woes, they are getting more aggressive, and more ambitious, about finding ways to cut their health care costs – and they aren’t waiting for health care reform to kick in to get started.

Oregon, for example, hopes to introduce a new series of community health centers that would provide more integrated care to their patients.  At first the centers would serve only Medicaid and dually eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) patients, but eventually, state officials hope the clinics will serve public employees and teachers and possibly small businesses as well.  Read about Oregon’s plans in this Stateline report.

Massachusetts is focusing its attention on a narrower group:  chronically ill dual eligibles.  The state hopes to move 115,000 such individuals from its Medicaid fee-for-service program to managed care plans.  Learn more about Massachusetts’s plans in this Wall Street Journal articleA medical doctor standing with a confident smile.

With the federal government encouraging states to find new ways to serve their dual-eligible populations and the federal government, through the Affordable Care Act-created Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) providing seed money for such innovation, more states can be expected to begin testing new approaches to serving this population in the coming months.

Such new initiatives will undoubtedly have implications for urban safety-net hospitals, so NAUH will monitor their development and implementation closely.

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