Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Full Speed Ahead!

By Richard Yadon, President and CEO, Managed Medicaid Services, Host of Medicaid Matters talk show

Yesterday I visited the Navy Memorial in Washington DC. Being a Navy veteran it has special significance to me. Being there brought back a flood of memories from my days of active duty and reserve service. Those days weren’t always easy. I can remember being on the naval gunfire line off the coast of Beirut supporting the Marines at the airport in 1983. This was just a few day after the devastating terrorist attack which killed over 200 Marines. Nobody knew if or when something bigger might be aimed at the US military. Despite the uncertainty and anxiety, our ship’s crew always operated with precision and success.

It would be easy to let the uncertainties and anxieties in Medicaid managed care get you down. There are many challenges being discussed here at the Medicaid Managed Care Congress. In the sessions I attended this morning I’ve heard from everyone from state officials to health plan presidents. Topics such as provider capacity, ambiguous exchange regulations, and the integration of behavioral care in the community have all been discussed. Each topic represents a significant operational and financial challenge.

At the back of everyone’s mind is what will happen with the Supreme Court ruling. It could mean the end of the federally mandated expansion of Medicaid. This only adds to the uncomfortable atmosphere of uncertainty. Not an easy thing to manage given the amount of money entrusted to Medicaid managed care organizations and the millions of people they serve. I can think of several industries in which similar challenges and uncertainties would cause businesses to stop in their tracks.

That is not the case here. This broad collection of Medicaid health plan and state leaders has no intention of letting the uncertainly stop them. They are all moving forward as if nothing were threatened, as if there was no uncertainty. It is clear that they intend to continue to succeed, and serve, in spite of the challenges in front of them. Listening to the speakers and the questions from the audience suggest only one thing – Full Speed Ahead.

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