State gets federal grant for care coordination

The state has received a $1 million federal grant to develop a system for coordinating care for seniors and adults with disabilities who are covered by both Medicaid and Medicare.

People covered by both programs, known as “dual eligibles,” make up 19 percent of the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries but 58 percent of the program’s expenses, costing the state more than $2 billion. Many are chronically ill, seriously disabled, or both, and often struggle to get the care they need, which officials say results in higher costs.

The grant will allow the state to contract with “integrated care organizations” to coordinate care for dual eligible patients.

“We are on track to bring innovative solutions to bear on a problem that has driven up health care costs disproportionately,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “In essence, our poorest and most vulnerable citizens have been ‘on their own’ in the health care system. Their medical costs have been covered but lack of coordinated care for various conditions and procedures can lead to redundant care, unnecessary costs and fragmented accountability between the state and federal governments.”

The grant comes as the state moves toward changing the way all its Medicaid programs are run, with an increased emphasis on care coordination. Earlier this week, the state Department of Social Services issued a request for proposals for an organization to handle administrative functions for the Medicaid programs beginning next year.