Leavitt tells state Medicaid programs to partner with federal programs

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The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services urged state Medicaid programs to join federal programs and large business in creating their healthcare contracts.

Such partnerships would help state programs increase purchasing clout and improve healthcare quality, said Michael Leavitt, at a meeting of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors.

President Bush in August signed an executive order requiring HHS, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management to share data on the quality and cost of healthcare they provide. State Medicaid programs were exempt from the order.