Medicaid and Chronic Disease Experts Report to Congress


On May 31, a distinguished panel of Medicaid and chronic disease experts briefed Congress on opportunities to achieve cost savings in Medicaid through innovative strategies to prevent and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and behavioral health conditions. The panel included Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), Professor and Chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University; Matt Salo, Executive Director of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors; Mary Kay Owen, R. Ph., C. Ph., Executive Director of the Institute for Healthcare Innovation Strategies; and Michelle Martin, Director of the Center for Best Practices, Medicaid Health Plans of America. PFCD research shows that 83 percent of Medicaid expenditures are for treatment of chronic diseases, 5 percent of Medicaid enrollees account for 54 percent of Medicaid expenditures, 10 percent of children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) account for 72 percent of expenditures for children under those programs, and up to 30 percent of Medicaid patients show indicators of inefficient patterns of care such as visits to multiple providers and pharmacies, duplicative medical services from various providers, and use of hospital emergency departments for primary care.  Research shows that well designed interventions pioneered by states and managed care organizations have improved care while reducing costs for individuals with chronic diseases, crucial to bending the Medicaid cost curve, without arbitrary service limits and co-payments that can become barriers to care.  Noting delays under Medicaid state plan and waiver approval procedures, the panel advocated greater state-federal collaboration to support innovation, dissemination and testing of well designed intervention models, and timely replication of best practices nationwide. A wealth of information on strategies to prevent and manage chronic diseases is available via the Partnership’s website at


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Categories:Health and Human Services


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