Medicaid director wants expansion into managed-care program

Mississippi’s Medicaid director wants to expand a managed-care program that he says has helped save the state about $40 million.

David Dzielak said 22 percent of Medicaid recipients are in managed care, in which a company is paid a set fee to provide medical services, regardless of the services’ actual cost.

Dzielak said during a recent meeting at the Capitol that he’ll ask lawmakers’ permission in 2014 to expand managed care, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

“The people Medicaid serves are some of the most vulnerable in the state,” Dzielak said. “They make for some of the most difficult patients to manage.”

During the 2012 session, lawmakers gave Medicaid permission to put up to 45 percent of its recipients in managed care, but they said certain services would be exempt. For instance, hospitals are reimbursed under a fee-for-service model in which they are paid for the care provided.

Critics say managed care companies make money by limiting recipients’ access to health services.