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Iowa Aims to Improve Care for Chronically Ill

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa's Medicaid program will use a $1.3 million grant to start developing a statewide plan to reduce the cost of treating chronically ill patients.

The program said Thursday the six-month grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will enable it to coordinate with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and other insurers to develop the plan.

In a statement, Medicaid Director Jennifer Vermeer said one strategy will be to create a group of health care providers to better coordinate care for the chronically ill, who consume a disproportionate share of costs.

Vermeer says the current reimbursement system rewards providers for the volume and not the value of services they provide. She says care can be improved while slowing the growth of costs by preventing redundant services and medical errors.