Originally created 06/02/06

Medicaid savings planned



ATLANTA - Georgia officials on Thursday rolled out the first part of a plan they say will save the state $80 million next year by matching 1.2 million Medicaid patients with doctors who will give them regular, ongoing care.

About 600,000 low-income adults and children who live in the metro Atlanta area and central Georgia were matched Thursday with CMOs, or care management organizations. The CMOs, under contract with the state, are responsible for providing the proper health services to the Medicaid patients.

In September, the program will be introduced to another 600,000 Medicaid members in the rest of the state.

Previously, the state's Medicaid program operated under a fee-for-service system in which health providers were reimbursed for the services they provided to patients, who typically did not see the same doctor for ongoing treatment.

State officials promised that the Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members will receive the same services they previously received without having increases in their co-payments or premiums.

Yet the DCH officials say Georgia still will see an $80 million savings by not having as many Medicaid patients make costly trips to hospital emergency departments, because they will have a regular doctor to assist them with health troubles.