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Carol Backstrom, an administrator experienced in health care administration and reform at the state and federal levels, has been named state Medicaid director. She will begin work at the Minnesota Department of Human Services on Nov. 5.
Backstrom currently serves as a senior policy advisor at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, part of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In this role she has served as liaison with state partners in creating and implementing reforms in Medicaid programs across the country. Previously, Backstrom served as assistant to the commissioner for health reform at the Minnesota Department of Health, overseeing implementation of state health reform legislation passed in 2008.
Minnesota is a leader in advancing Medicaid reforms. In August, Minnesota became the first state to win federal approval for its Health Care Delivery Demonstration, an effort to improve care for enrollees while saving taxpayer dollars. Minnesota has also implemented competitive bidding for providers of health care services, already saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars without compromising care. In addition, an effort is underway to redesign Medicaid services to better serve those with long-term care needs and make the program sustainable in the future.
“We are fortunate to have Carol’s expertise and leadership at this critical time for health reform in Minnesota,” DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said. “We have already taken significant steps to improve the overall value of our health care investment and we are poised to make more progress in the months to come.”
Medicaid, funded jointly by the state and federal governments, serves 666,000 low-income senior citizens, adults, children and people with disabilities. It represents one of the largest expenditures in the DHS budget with expenditures of $7.5 billion for state fiscal year 2011.