States pioneer unique solutions to Medicaid woes

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States are beginning to tackle Medicaid costs associated with an aging population with innovative initiatives, according to state health experts.

Arkansas has a law in place that requires anyone going into a nursing home be screened first by a nurse in an effort to minimize placement in institutions. The reason? The state currently spends 90% of its Medicaid dollars on 10% of the population, according to John Selig, director of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. He spoke during the Second National Medicaid Congress in Washington, DC.

Iowa also has adopted a strategy to encourage use of community-based care services. The state has the highest rates of those in nursing homes, according to Kevin Concannon, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Other states have programs to promote wellness, aid Medicaid beneficiaries in disease management programs for chronic illnesses, and pay-for-performance programs, speakers said during the Medicaid Congress.

Information on the Second National Medicaid Congress is available at