Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today introduced the Medicaid Access Project through Information Technology (MAP IT). The bill will allow for the creation of a demonstration project that will provide a more efficient and effective system for managing chronic disease by using health information technology on disease management for the Medicaid population.

“Under the current paper-based healthcare system, patients and their doctors lack instant access to medical information,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09). “This lack of connectivity and shared knowledge leads to medical errors, increased costs, and inefficiency.  This pilot project would leverage information technology as a tool to increase the efficiency of the healthcare system, improve the quality of care for Medicaid patients and it will decrease costs to states and the federal government, which are facing record deficits.”

The demonstration project will give chronic disease patients and caregivers access to their own medical records and to a single source of information on chronic disease. The program will include several channels of communication with health educators, as well as a Personal Health Record, to allow patients to record and track their own health information. Information and access methods will be tailored to the patient’s needs. Physicians and other caregivers will have access to complete, current treatment and health status information for chronic disease patients, using the virtual case management tool.

“One of my top priorities is to provide access to quality, affordable health care,” said U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris (WA-05). “Recent advancements in health information technology and the use of electronic medical records allows for innovative collaboration where patients, doctors and health educators can be brought together online to discuss patients health care needs. By providing online access for managing chronic disease, we can improve health care for Medicaid recipients and provide states with an alternative to cutting services or raising taxes.”

Combined federal and state spending on Medicaid over the next ten years is estimated to be $14.5 trillion.  The federal government has proposed significant reductions in funding for Medicaid. This increases the financial burden on states, forcing them to either decrease Medicaid enrollment and services, or raise taxes. Expenses from the care of individuals with chronic conditions are a major part of state Medicaid budgets. Facilitating access to chronic disease management program through information technology would save states money on their overall Medicaid budget.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will select at least four proposals to perform the demonstration projects from those submitted by states. The demonstrations will be for two years with an evaluation afterwards to determine the amount of cost savings resulting from the project.