KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Officials Seek Medicaid Savings In Cuts, Payment Methods, Managed Care

Facing budget pressures, state officials in Georgia, Minnesota, Kansas and West Virginia are among those making cuts and switching to new payment methods as well as to managed care to cut the cost of the state-federal health care program for the poor and disabled.

Georgia Health News: Medicaid Cuts Loom; State To Extend Insurer Pacts
State officials say proposed budget cuts to Georgia Medicaid and PeachCare would total $170 million in state funds through the next fiscal year. And with the matching federal funds generated by that state spending, the reductions would have a more than $500 million impact on the two health insurance programs. The cuts would come on top of a current shortfall in the two programs that the Department of Community Health's budget director estimates at about $300 million (Miller, 8/9).

Minnesota Public Radio: New Medicaid Payment Method Will Save Money, MN Officials Say
Minnesota is the first state in the nation to receive federal approval for a new way of paying for health care in its Medicaid program. Minnesota will pay some hospitals and clinics based on how well their patients do medically and their ability to cut costs. Right now Medicaid pays HMOs to provide coverage or pays medical clinics directly by the procedure or test. Experts say that "fee-for-service" approach does nothing to rein in costs. But under the "shared savings" program, the state will contract directly with clinics. Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said if those clinics meet quality standards, patients get healthier, and cut costs, they'll be able to share any cost savings with the state (Stawicki, 8/9).

Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare: Ready Or Not?
Less than five months from now, the Kansas Medicaid program is scheduled to convert to a privatized system called KanCare. In January, three for-profit, managed-care organizations will take over the federal/state program that pays for health care for low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities. State officials have been conducting meetings across the state to help people prepare for the change (Thompson, 8/9).

In the meantime, West Virginia plans to audit its Medicaid program to look for savings --

The Associated Press: W. Va. Plans Audit Of Health Care Programs
West Virginia is planning an audit of eight state health care agencies and Medicaid with the goal of improving programs with existing or fewer resources. The Governor's Office has awarded a $390,000 contract to Pennsylvania-based Public Works to conduct the audit, the Charleston Daily Mail reported Thursday. Public Works recently completed an audit of the state's education system (8/10).

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