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With Dartmouth On Board, Managed Medicaid Transition A Step Closer

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is agreeing to join the Medicaid managed care program.  The state's largest health care system had been a key hold out in the new effort.

A transition from traditional Medicaid to so-called managed care is already a year behind schedule, costing the state an estimated $15 million in expected savings. One problem has been a lack of participation from hospitals. They’ve voiced concerned that the arrangement could pay them less for treating Medicaid patients.

Last summer, the state hired three out-of-state companies, known as managed care organizations, to effectively take over the health care system for the poor and disabled. They’ll get paid a fixed amount per person to provide health care.

Those companies, though, need to negotiate contracts with the hospitals and prove they’ve got enough doctors and specialists on board before they can launch. 

With Dartmouth, that is now a giant step closer.

"By taking this action today, we are acting in the best interests of New Hampshire and the people we are privileged to serve," writes Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Jim Weinstein. "To create a truly sustainable health system, all New Hampshire residents need access to high quality, coordinated health care when and where it's needed."

One reason the Lebanon-based system signed contracts is the new state budget. Lawmakers wrote in a provision mandating participation in managed care in exchange for payments given to treat the uninsured.

The deadline given by the legislature is today.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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