Health Department Seeks Proposals to Improve the Care of Chronically Ill Medicaid Patients

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 21, 2008) – The Department of Health today announced the availability of $10 million in funding under the state's Medicaid program for providers to demonstrate innovative and replicable approaches to address the complex health needs and social barriers to care for the chronically ill beneficiaries.

Seventy-five percent of the state's $46 million Medicaid budgets is spent on 20 percent of the beneficiaries – more than 800,000 chronically ill patients. These individuals often have multiple chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease and sickle cell anemia. Many also suffer from mental illness or have alcohol and/or drug addictions. Accordingly, this demonstration project was developed in collaboration with the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said "This is just one of a number of initiatives being undertaken by the State's Medicaid program to improve quality of care, in this case for some of the most complex patients we care for. These projects will focus on those fee-for-service patients who are most likely to be hospitalized, with the objective of improving ambulatory and preventive care and avoiding repeat hospital admissions."

State Mental Health Commissioner Michael F. Hogan, PhD said, "Research shows better outcomes and reduced costs can be achieved by addressing the needs of individuals who have more than one illness or disability at the same time. We also know that when serious mental illness exists for people with other chronic conditions, it must be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach to achieve good outcomes. This collaboration with the Department of Health provides a real opportunity to improve the quality of life and mental and physical health outcomes for individuals with a serious mental illness and chronic physical illness."

OASAS Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo said, "With this initiative, we will be able to provide better care for those who deal with the chronic illnesses of alcoholism and drug addiction. These innovations will help us put people first and provide the support they need for lives in recovery."

The 2007-08 state budget included $4 million in funding for chronic illness demonstration projects. Governor Eliot Spitzer's 2008-09 Executive Budget proposes an additional $6 million investment in the demonstrations. In addition, the Department of Health will seek federal matching funds to increase the total available funding to $20 million.

The Request for Proposals is on the Department of Health website at http://www.nyhealth.gov/funding/. A bidders' conference will be held on Feb. 26. Proposals are due on April 14.