With the goal of reforming Medicaid by improving financial stability and patient care, Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed an executive order establishing the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission.
The Commission will be tasked with evaluating the financial structure of the Alabama Medicaid Agency and identifying ways to increase efficiency while also helping ensure the long-term sustainability of the agency. The Commission will make recommendations to Governor Bentley prior to the 2013 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature.
"We are committed to increasing efficiency, eliminating fraud and maintaining patient care," Governor Bentley said. "We believe we can deliver higher-quality care while also controlling costs. The Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission will help us accomplish this."
"The Commission will include members who are all dedicated to quality healthcare," Governor Bentley added. "We'll listen to the perspectives of consumers, physicians and many others. By receiving their input and thoroughly reviewing Medicaid's finances, we can make informed and responsible decisions about increasing efficiency and improving care."
The Commission's work will help the state achieve fiscal certainty for the Alabama Medicaid Agency in future years. Commission members will study various options for reforming the Alabama Medicaid Agency and will be tasked with recommending a care delivery system that is supported by a long-term, sustainable funding structure. Additional recommendations are expected to include potential methods of increasing transparency and fairness in the system.
State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson will serve as chair of the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission.
"This is the next step in the transformation of Medicaid," Dr. Williamson said. "This represents an opportunity to fundamentally change the funding and delivery system for the better. I am honored to be asked to help with this important task."
In addition to care providers, the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission will also consist of members of the Alabama Legislature, including designees of House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.
"The Alabama Medicaid Agency is among the largest consumers of tax dollars in the General Fund budget, and if it is allowed to grow unchecked and unreformed, it has the potential of bankrupting our state," Speaker Hubbard said. "I am convinced this Commission can find innovative ways to continue providing adequate healthcare to the poorest among us while also keeping those services affordable and accountable to the taxpayers who fund them."
Representative Greg Wren, who serves as chair of the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid Policy, will be among those serving on the Commission.
"The Legislature looks forward to working with Governor Bentley and Dr. Williamson as we address the critical Medicaid financing issues in advance of the 2013 Legislative Session, beginning February 5, 2013," Representative Wren said. "Taxpayer funding for Medicaid programs has doubled over the past 10 years and now consumes nearly one-third of our state's General Fund budget. Building a sustainable Medicaid finance structure is imperative."
Senator Greg Reed, vice-chair of the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid Policy, and chair of the Senate Health Committee, will also serve on the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission.
"The decisions we make regarding Medicaid will have an effect on healthcare for all Alabamians," Senator Reed said. "Our goal is to make the right decisions for today and for our healthcare future. I look forward to serving with this Commission."
"There's a great deal of credit owed to Governor Bentley, Senator Reed, Representative Wren, Dr. Williamson and each member of this Commission for their willingness to join forces and work toward finding long-term solutions to systemic problems in Alabama's Medicaid program," added President Pro Tem Marsh. "Working together, along with providers and end users, our goal is to reduce costs to taxpayers without jeopardizing critical services to those who rely on Medicaid."
"This is the latest step in an ongoing effort to increase efficiency across state government," Governor Bentley said. "We are committed to making the wisest use of the resources given to us by taxpayers, and this Commission is the latest example of how we are following through with our commitment."