(Long Island) – Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, joined with other members of the Health Committee and health care experts today during a public roundtable to discuss the most effective and efficient methods to reform New York State’s Medicaid program.
“We have to implement serious systematic changes and we need to do so quickly,” said Senator Kemp Hannon. “If we do not redesign the system and put cost efficient mechanisms in place, the financial impact to our State and quality of delivery to those most in need will be devastating,” Hannon continued.
Among the recommendations addressed during the public roundtable discussion were proposals for the improvement of care delivery and quality, opportunities for savings, reduction of current costs, medical malpractice reform and qualifications for Medicaid eligibility.
Although New York State has the nation’s most expensive Medicaid program, it ranks just 21st in patient healthcare outcomes. This coupled with a $10 billion State deficit and recently enacted federal health care reform demand that New York take action.
Citing a recent report published by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), President of HANYS Daniel Sisto emphasized the enactment of government shared service initiatives, leveraging the state’s purchasing power for all goods (including prescription drugs) and maximizing state owned assets through public-private partnerships in an effort to achieve savings and generate revenue.
Other recommendations were proposed by Executive Vice President of the Greater New York Hospital Association David Rich, President of Independence Care Systems Rick Surpin, Executive Director of New York Association of Counties Stephen J. Acquario, and President and CEO of New York State Health Foundation James R. Knickman.
Senator Thomas K. Duane, Ranking Member of Senate Standing Committee on Health said, “I commend Senator Hannon for organizing this roundtable. New York’s Medicaid program is central to our health care delivery system, providing coverage to one in four New Yorkers, including our poorest residents, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. As Medicaid costs continue to increase, we face the renewed challenge of finding ways to tackle cost issues without reducing access to care for New York’s most vulnerable populations — and this all must be done while we simultaneously work to improve health care quality and outcomes. Today’s discussion, one of the many dialogues which will occur across New York State in the coming year, will provide important information from a number of experts about how we can meet this vital challenge.”
Daniel Sisto, President of Healthcare Association of New York State said, “The current Medicaid program has become unsustainable. We must implement fundamental reforms now to ensure that essential health services remain accessible to every New Yorker. Senator Hannon’s leadership and renowned health policy expertise will be critical elements in this process.”
Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of New York Association of Counties said, “Modernizing the Medicaid program to improve patient healthcare outcome and lower costs must be a priority for all levels of government. The current healthcare system is inefficient and financially unsustainable. County governments, who presently manage the Medicaid program in New York, look forward to working with Senator Hannon to redesign this important program.”
David Rich, Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) Executive Vice President said, “New York’s hospital community applauds Senator Hannon for advancing collective efforts to identify Medicaid savings without compromising quality care. GNYHA looks forward to working with all stakeholders to develop solutions that improve care while reducing costs.”
Senior Vice President of The Lewin Group, Jeff Smith, emphasized the significance of how implementing a more efficient pharmacy benefits management system, apart from rebates, could save Medicaid an additional $30 billion over the next decade. “The Lewin Group has assisted many states as they work to address the costs of their Medicaid programs. Our analyses address structural, organizational, care management and other aspects of the delivery of care,” said Smith. “In New York, we have identified areas where both year-to-year growth levels, and overall spending levels, indicate that changes could help New York run a more efficient and effective program. We are pleased to be participating in this roundtable as New York works to address this major issue,” Smith continued.
Rick Surpin, President of Independence Care Systems said, “The current Medicaid home and community-based service system is highly fragmented with overlapping layers, and is confusing to everyone. Reform must focus on reducing costs without doing harm to the most vulnerable beneficiaries, restructuring by consolidating and building on the strengths of existing programs, targeting care management for the people with the most complex needs and investing in home care aides as the core workforce of the system.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced Senator Kemp Hannon as a key member to his Medicaid Redesign Team. The Team, established by an Executive Order announced by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address, is charged with finding ways to save money within the Medicaid program for the upcoming state budget for the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.
The published whitepapers presented and discussed during today’s roundtable can be found at: www.nysenate.gov/committee/health.