New Illinois Medicaid proposals may require more medical informatics and health information management professionals

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Recent proposals from the Illinois Taxpayer Action Board outline ways to streamline the state’s Medicaid program, the Chicago Tribune reports. The state spends nearly $14 million per year on Medicaid.

The panel proposes to expand managed and outpatient care, shift long-term care patients from institutional to community settings, and to screen ineligible patients more efficiently.

State officials told the news source that moving more Medicaid recipients to managed care means that individuals are assigned a “medical home,” much like a health maintenance organization-style clinic, that will supervise their benefits. These changes will require more health informatics professionals in the area who can properly transfer data from hospitals to other medical centers.

Another proposed cost-cutting change involves reducing the prescription drug dispensing fee that is paid to pharmacists who fill medications for Medicaid recipients. Officials from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) told the news source that the state pays $4.60 per Medicaid prescription for generic drugs and $3.40 for brand-name products.

Comparatively, under the state’s employee healthcare plan, Illinois pays $1.36 per prescription for generic drugs and $1.28 for brand-name.

Finally, officials from the DHFS said they are seeking methods to cross-check electronic data on Medicaid recipients, to find those who are ineligible. These new systems require individuals who possess health information management expertise to efficiently oversee this operation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 35,000 employment opportunities in the health information technician field will be available over the next eight years.