Upshot of MRT Webinar

Yesterday afternoon, State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson held a briefing via webinar on the Medicaid initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal and the status of certain Phase II Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) proposals. Last year the MRT was created to reform the Medicaid program in New York by advancing ideas to control costs and improve the quality of the program.  A significant number of Medicaid reforms were included in last year’s budget. Following passage of the budget the MRT continued its work over the summer and into the fall with a number of workgroups. These workgroups presented recommendations to the MRT and 25 of these ideas were included in the Governor’s budget released in January. While today’s webinar provided an overview of the included recommendations, Director Helgerson noted that the Phase II MRT recommendations that were not included in this year’s budget will be part of the 1115 Waiver the state will seek from the federal government to fundamentally reshape the Medicaid program in New York.

The webinar focused on the key Medicaid proposals in the budget including: the state takeover of Medicaid administration; the creation of the New York Health Benefit Exchange; the state takeover of localities’ Medicaid growth costs over the next three years; initiatives to address health disparities; and a number of changes to the basic benefit in Medicaid. Director Helgerson noted that the changes contained in this year’s budget proposal are budget neutral but will generate significant cost savings to the Medicaid program in the future.   The slides used during Director Helgerson’s webinar as well as other materials of interest are available on the Department of Health Medicaid Redesign Team page.

As a follow up to today’s presentation Director Helgerson and his team at DOH will host a forum on Twitter on Friday, February 3rd,  between 8:30 – 9:30 AM to answer questions from members of the public.  Instructions on how to join the twitter conversation are in the last slide of today’s PowerPoint presentation which may be accessed here. I encourage all patients, advocates, and other interested parties to voice your questions and concerns!

-Jaime Venditti, 2/2/12