The plan is to make Ohio Medicaid a cabinet-level agency starting halfway through the next two year budget cycle on July 1, 2014. Right now Medicaid is housed in the Department of Job and Family Services, but is also administered by five other state agencies. Greg Moody is the head of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.
“We realized that the organization of the program itself was stifling innovation," says Moody.
Medicaid is a nearly $19 billion program – it’s a third of the state budget and growing. But Moody says this move isn’t designed to cut the budget.
Wright State University is among 6 Ohio universities that are partnering with the state as part of a new program aimed at training students and health care professionals to better serve Ohio's Medicaid population. Medicaid provides coverage for the poor though state and federal funding.
Five of the six managed care organizations that lost bids for state Medicaid contracts have filed protests with Ohio officials.
This month, Ohio chose the contract winners that will provide health care services for more than 1.5 million poor and disabled people.
The Columbus Dispatch reports companies that lost out on the billions of dollars in work say the Department of Job and Family Services made errors in awarding the contracts. Several companies allege scoring on bid applications was miscalculated.
A department spokesman says the protests will be reviewed.
State officials want to change the way health care is delivered to the 190,000 Ohioans served by both Medicaid and Medicare, so the beneficiaries must only deal with a single entity to receive services.
The federal Medicare program serves the elderly and disabled, while Medicaid provides coverage for the poor though state and federal funding. The two operate fairly independently from each other.