The state’s Medicaid agency Monday announced an updated timeline for its decision on how the health program will be restructured. A press release said...

The state’s Medicaid agency Monday announced an updated timeline for its decision on how the health program will be restructured.

A press release said the state’s decision about the new model for Medicaid and PeachCare will come this summer, as experts had anticipated. And the Department of Community Health said it is projecting that it will begin the vendor procurement process with a Request for Proposals sometime this fall.

David Cook, the agency’s commissioner, told GHN on Monday that the decision on the design would come ‘‘within weeks.’’

“It’ll be relatively soon,’’ he said.

Georgia is pursuing a ‘‘redesign’’ of its Medicaid program to control costs, improve quality and ensure appropriate use of medical services. Medicaid and PeachCare serve 1.7 million poor and disabled Georgians.

The decision on a new design was originally expected in April. Several factors have caused the delay, including getting ‘‘very good input from stakeholders,’’ along with doing financial modeling for the proposals, Cook said Monday.

Georgia Medicaid is facing a $170 million deficit this fiscal year and a higher one next year, he said.

Cook praised the work of the three task forces filled with stakeholders that have been meeting with state officials on the proposed changes. The groups have focused on providing better continuity of care and better quality of services to the beneficiaries, Cook said.

The delay on the design decision won’t stop the state from allowing enough time next year – nine to 12 months – to roll out the changes before implementation in 2014, he said.

The consulting firm report on the restructuring yields an important lesson, Cook said. “Trying to do something too quickly’’ is the way other states have gotten into trouble, he added.

Here are two new, extensive AJC articles about the Medicaid redesign.


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