Texas Gets Federal Support to Build More Efficient, High Quality Medicaid Systems - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/29/07 - Washington, D.C.

Texas Gets Federal Support to Build More Efficient, High Quality Medicaid Systems

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today awarded $4 million to Texas to fund implementation of new ways to improve Medicaid efficiency, economy and quality of care. The funds are part of $103 million awarded to 27 states across the nation.


States will use the funds to implement innovative systems to get more value out of the money they spend providing health care to their low-income elderly, children and disabled citizens. In Texas, the funds will be used to support the Electronic Health Passport for Foster Care project.


Congress approved a total of $150 million for these Medicaid "transformation grants" in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) to be distributed over fiscal years 2007 and 2008. The award of the first $103 million will be followed later in the year with a second solicitation for the remaining $47 million. States will receive the funds over the next two years.


"These transformation grants express the core goal of this administration to give states the kind of flexibility they need to deliver high quality care in an efficient and economical way," Secretary Leavitt said. "With these grants states can streamline and modernize their systems, stabilize the exponential growth of the program and protect it into the future."


In part, the funds will support more widespread use of electronic health care records that can be accessed by whole treatment teams, a move within the medical community to improve quality of care and reduce the potential for medical errors.


Permissible uses of grant funds included:

* Reducing patient error rates through the implementation of technology
(electronic health records, clinical decision support tools or e-
prescribing programs).


* Improving rates of collection from estates of amounts owed under
Medicaid.

* Reducing waste, fraud, and abuse under Medicaid, such as reducing
improper payment rates.

* Increasing the utilization of generic drugs through education programs
and other incentives. This reduces Medicaid expenditures for covered
outpatient drugs, particularly in the categories of greatest drug
utilization.

* Improving access to primary and specialty physician care for the
uninsured using integrated university-based hospital and clinic
systems.

* Implementation of a medication risk management program as part of a
drug use review program.


The awards granted today vary in amount depending on each state's application. Some states submitted more than one grant proposal and will receive funds for each project.


No state matching funds are required for these special grants. More information on the grants and how state Medicaid agencies can apply for the next round of awards is on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Web site at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidTransGrants.

Story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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