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New York State Commissioner of Health On NY Medicaid Reform

This week Dr. Nirav R. Shah–the Commissioner of Health for the state–issued a press release summarizing the positive impact of each of the Medicaid reform efforts that have taken place over the last few years. As many are aware, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been aggressive in his efforts to streamline the system, mostly motivated by financial concerns.

The Commissioner used the occasion to paint a positive picture of the New York Medicaid’s current situation. He noted how costs for the program are down while quality indicators are receiving good marks. Amazingly, all of this is coming at a time when actual enrollment in Medicaid is increasing. Lowering costs even with steady enrollment is difficult, and so do so while adding to the program is a real achievement. The press release points out that, all told, over $3.2 billion has been saved in New York City alone. That is not a trivial amount, particularly considering trends had been moving in the opposite direction for years.

Interestingly, the Commissioner noted that it was long-term care services which, in the past, were the main drivers of increased Medicaid spending. But the Medicaid Redesign Team has been able to “bend the cost curve,” mostly by shifting resources into less expensive but helpful programs–like at-home care.

The Commissioner’s press release also discussed the “Managed Long-Term Care” (MLTC) Program. This slate of projects applied to those on Medicaid who are concurrently enrolled in Medicare (the senior health insurance program). The purpose of MLTC is to provide more cost-effective long-term care. Some worry about the quality of care provided via the MLTC, but Commissioner Shah argues that quality indicators thus far are encouraging, with the vast majority of seniors showing no problems following a switch into the MLTC program as compared to the old system.

This is important considering changing demographics demonstrate that many more New York seniors will likely need expensive nursing home care in the coming years. This will result in more seniors relying on Medicaid for assistance. Our NY elder law attorneys work with families on just that issue.

All of these indicators are good news for New York residents. Efficient but quality public healthcare services are of vital importance to communities throughout the state. Medicaid will only grow in importance in the next few decades. For aid understanding how the qualifications process works, whether assets can be saved from being “spent down,” and more, please get in touch without our NY senior care lawyers.

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