Senate Budget Panel To Heed Codey Request For Program Reviews

STATE MEDICAID PROGRAM TO BE FIRST FOCUS ON TUESDAY

TRENTON – At the request of Senate President Richard J. Codey, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear testimony on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, from State Medicaid officials to listen to their ideas on how to improve the program management and delivery of services for the elderly, children and the poor from what is the largest health care program in the country.

“Senate President (Richard J.) Codey asked that we listen to the suggestions of the people who know the program so we can make government as efficient and as effective as possible,” said Senator Wayne R. Bryant, Chairman of the panel.

The hearing Tuesday, featuring Ann C. Kohler, Director of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, and State Auditor Richard Fair, will be the first of several held by the panel to “improve program management and services of the major cost centers” to the State, said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester.

“Nearly a million working poor, disabled and elderly New Jerseyans rely on Medicaid as a safety net, something they cannot and should not live without,” Senator Codey said. “We have a responsibility to make sure that this program works for them by maximizing the services provided at the lowest possible costs to taxpayers. This includes listening to the people most familiar with the program, ensuring that New Jersey receives its fair share of federal dollars and making sure the program is run as efficiently as possible.”

Senator Bryant said Medicaid costs involve about one-seventh of all State spending.

“At $9 billion a year in State and Federal funds, Medicaid has grown consistently by hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the last several years,” Senator Bryant said. “It makes perfect sense to see where we can improve services and efficiencies.”

Senator Bryant said followup hearings on Medicaid could focus on “ways to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the program as well as potential cost savings in the areas of prescription drugs and long-term care.”

The committee hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, in Room 4 of the State House Annex.