New N.Y. initiatives allow Medicaid spending to ring in below target

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Medicaid spending is below target in the current fiscal year and initiatives adopted have saved the state of New York nearly $600 million, according to information from the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT).

The MRT was created in January by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to conduct an examination of New York's Medicaid program.

Seventy-eight recommendations from the MRT were enacted in the state budget in April. These initiatives will cap Medicaid spending growth, beginning a three-year phase-in process to managed care for all Medicaid recipients and reduce Medicaid spending by $2.2 billion in the current fiscal year, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Spending for the current year, which is reported on a monthly basis, totaled $6.8 billion -- $173 million or 2.5 percent below the target for August, the information stated.

According to the state Department of Health, the state budget set a Global State Medicaid spending cap for the agency at $15.3 billion for 2011 to 2012 and $15.9 billion for 2012 to 2013, representing the governor's goal of limiting total Medicaid spending growth to no more than the rate of inflation for healthcare (currently 4 percent).

There are currently 10 MRT work groups developing reform proposals and working to address implementation issues in all areas of Medicaid, including managed long-term care implementation, behavioral health reform, streamlining programs, payment reforms, health disparities, basic benefit reviews, medical malpractice and others, the department concluded.