What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

April 4, 2005

No one knows whether New York's extra billions in Medicaid spending are paying off, report says

New York State falls behind many other states in national rankings of health, and must do more to analyze what its $45 billion Medicaid program does to improve quality of care, The Public Policy Institute's latest Medicaid Watch '05 report says.

"Medicaid spending is higher in New York than anywhere else," the report says. But, it adds: "Many indicators show New Yorkers are not unusually healthy, despite all that spending."

The report, Do billions in extra Medicaid spending buy better care? Albany doesn't know, examines health-quality indicators such as the percentage of babies born to mothers who receive late or no prenatal care. New York's performance on that measure has improved since 1992, but no more noticeably than the nation's, the Institute found. As of 2002, 4.7 percent of babies in New York were born to mothers who did not receive adequate prenatal care, compared to a national proportion of 3.6 percent.

The report suggests New York do more to use technology and financial incentives to drive higher-quality care.

"The new state budget includes demonstration projects for health information technology and pay-for-performance," it says. "Those efforts are small, but encouraging."

The Public Policy Institute is publishing Medicaid Watch '05 to document the case for reforms that reduce overall costs imposed on New York's taxpayers, businesses, farmers, and county governments. All reports in the series are at www.ppinys.org.

These reports were researched and written by Robert Ward, the Institute's director of research. To interview him about Medicaid spending, telephone 518/465-7511, ext. 271.