CMS funds Georgia health care transparency Web site

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Medicaid 2.0

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded Georgia’s Department of Community Health (DCH) a $3.93 million Medicaid Transformation Grant to help it build a statewide Health Information Transparency Web site.

The Web site will enable all health care consumers, including beneficiaries of Medicaid Care Management Organizations, Georgia’s Uninsured Plans and the State Health Benefit Plans, to go online and access information on health care and prescription costs, quality of care and the availability of services. The site, scheduled to be launched in 2008, will also incorporate disease management and wellness information for users.

“Our Web site can serve as both a source of unbiased information for patients and as a tool their physicians and health care professionals can use to supplement their own patient education efforts,” explains Dr. Rhonda Medows, commissioner of the DCH. “By empowering consumers with the ability to make informed choices about their health needs, we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the health care system.”

Sonny Munter, chief information officer at DCH, said that the Web site would initially utilize information already contained in state agency databases but would eventually reach out to hospitals, physician practices, long-term care facilities and other organizations that could provide additional quality and pricing information.

The Medicaid Transformation Grant program, funded by Congress as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, is designed to help Medicaid agencies improve efficiency, economy and quality of care. The program awarded $103 million to 27 agencies in January and is in the process of awarding another $51 million in grants for 2007 and 2008.

Munter expects a request for proposal for the Georgia Health Information Transparency Web site to be let within the next few weeks, adding that the new grant will provide nearly 80 percent of the funds required to build it.

About the Author

Heather Hayes is a freelance writer based in Clifford, Va.

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