Stimulus: health

Minnesota Medicaid will receive $2 billion.

Although few details of âÄúwho gets whatâÄù from the federal stimulus bill have been hammered out so far, one thing is clear: MinnesotaâÄôs largest slice of the pie will come in the form of $2 billion for Medicaid funding . More than $90 billion has been set aside nationwide to support Medicaid over the next three years. Lynn Blewett, an associate professor of health policy and management and director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, said the current economic troubles have left many Minnesotans without coverage or concerned that their coverage may soon be reduced or discontinued. The influx of federal dollars for Medicaid will hopefully free up money in the state budget for other things, Blewett said. MinnesotaâÄôs state aid is especially high because of the high rate of unemployment, she said. As a stipulation of receiving the money, the state cannot cut current Medicaid eligibility levels. Two areas of the UniversityâÄôs Academic Health Center will also be eligible to apply for federal grants as a result of stimulus bill funding. Dr. Macaran Baird , professor and head of the department of family medicine, said the Community University Health Care Center is a federally qualified health center and will be able to apply for some of the money that has been allocated to improve community clinics. The details havenâÄôt been released yet, he said, as far as what the priorities for successful grant applications will be, but he believes CUHCC has programs and priorities in place that make them well-positioned to apply. âÄúItâÄôs a competitive process,âÄù he said. âÄúWe would be very interested if they would offer priority for efforts to reduce health disparities among various populations, because that has been an emphasis of CUHCC and the Academic Health Center.âÄù Baird said primary care departments in the Medical School, such as family medicine and pediatrics, have previously received grants for training programs under Title VII funding, which allocates money for primary care professional training. âÄúThey were severely reduced over the past eight years,âÄù he said, but it appears the stimulus bill will increase Title VII this year. Because the Academic Health Center has a history of successful applications for these grants, Baird said, âÄúWe have a number of reasons we can hope for a series of successful applications.âÄù Most of the exact details about how much money will be parceled out and for how long wonâÄôt be set in stone until the request for applications goes out, Baird said. But the size and scope of the UniversityâÄôs programs and the priorities within the programs should make them eligible to become recipients.