The federal government has awarded Minnesota $45 million to serve as a model testing site to lower taxpayer costs and improve the quality of care for Medicaid patients.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state safety net program, which provides health care for low-income and disabled people and children. The "innovation grant" is part of the federal health care overhaul.
The director of the Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center, Richard Gilfillan, said Minnesota stood out for its work in coordinating care, most recently for patients with diabetes and depression.
"We were impressed by the work that had been done, the thoughtfulness of the approach that they were describing going forward and the long history of that engagement," Gilfillan said.
State Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the funding will help health care providers statewide better coordinate care for patients through health information technology; increased workforce training and development; and engaging communities in improving their health.
"I don't think this grant means we change the direction we're going in Minnesota," Jesson said. "But I do think it enables us to beef up our health care infrastructure so we can get where we're going faster ... better health at a lower cost."
The state project is projected to improve care and lower cost for nearly 200,000 Medicaid enrollees in Minnesota by 2016.
The Minnesota project is a joint effort of the state's human services and health departments.