HHS funds $103M in Medicaid efficiency grants

The Health and Human Services Department has awarded $103 million to 27 states to fund new ways to improve Medicaid efficiency, economy and quality of care, including implementing health IT.

States are to use the funds to put in place innovative systems to get more value out of the money they spend providing health care to their low-income clients.

Congress approved a total of $150 million for the Medicaid transformation grants in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 to be distributed over this fiscal year and 2008. HHS later in the year will solicit proposals for the remaining $47 million. States will receive the funds over the next two years.

"With these grants, states can streamline and modernize their systems, stabilize the exponential growth of the program and protect it into the future," said HHS secretary Mike Leavitt in a statement.

The funds in part 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. The grants may also underwrite electronic prescribing programs.

Among the largest state awards were:
  • $11.7 million for Arizona's Medicaid Health Information Exchange Utility Project
  • $9.9 million for D.C.'s Comprehensive Medicaid Integration or Patient Data Hub
  • $7.65 million for Alabama's Together for Quality'Health Information Systems
  • $5.5 million for Wisconsin's Health Information Exchange Initiative.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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