RI officials looking to save on state Medicaid costs

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State officials are continuing to look for new ways to save on healthcare costs.

“We’re on track to realize over $100 million in-state Medicaid savings this year alone–without touching eligibility,” said Governor Raimondo.

The savings were achieved through pursuing multiple tactics, according to Elizabeth Roberts, Health and Human Services Secretary.

One thing the state is doing is shifting people away from hospitals and nursing homes and more toward primary care doctors and community health centers.

“We really focused on coordinating care because, it’s amazing, about 6% of the people we serve account for about two-thirds of the expenses we have,” stated Roberts.

Some of these members make between 10 and 20 emergency room trips a month, Roberts said. “If we can have them be served in a doctor’s office…we can actually meet your needs in that office, and only occasionally when you have a flare-up or more emergency situation do you go to the emergency room.”

With nearly half of Medicaid funding going to hospitals and nursing facilities, the state was able to cut payments to both.

Roberts also said Obamacare has played a role.

Last year, in exchange for bonuses earned by delivering high-quality care, hospitals and nursing homes accepted a cut in state spending saving $11.1 million and $8.3 million respectively.