by David Ramsey
I asked Department of Human Services Communications Director Amy Webb whether they had new numbers on the shortfall and whether the Initiative has shown early signs of reducing costs. She responded by email:
We don’t have numbers yet. The Medicaid staff is working on new projections and we should have them in a week or two.
What I can tell is that based on data for the first six months of the year, the average rate of growth in the Medicaid program is less than three percent. Over the last five years, the average rate of growth has been six percent so we are significantly less than that. We believe that, in part the slowing of the growth rate is based on a sentinel effect [doctors practicing in more efficient ways because they know external review is in place] from our payment initiative. Providers know that we are changing the system to one that is more efficient, provides more coordinated care and better care. We think providers understand that and are already moving in that direction.
We won’t know exactly what the slowed growth rate translates to moneywise until we complete our projections.