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  • Study: States Get Big Medicaid Savings from Social Services, Outreach to Sickest Patients USA Today by Jayne O'Donnell  — Some states have achieved dramatic savings in health care costs for their sickest Medicaid patients by providing intensive one-on-one assistance and social services that help the patients better address their multiple, overlapping ailments. A report out Tuesday by the National Governors Association found states may be able to save more than $2 for every dollar they spend dealing with these so-called health care super-utilizers' more basic social needs.  Ten states and Puerto Rico are part of a national pilot project to target and coordinate the health care and social services needs of these patients to save money and improve health. Among the early findings, emergency room usage dropped by 25% in Alaska among those who received face-to-face outreach in their communities, the report shows.

  • Poor Health and High Expectations for Medicaid Associated Press by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar — It's one of Medicaid's challenges. While low-income people are more likely to struggle with health problems such as smoking and depression, new research shows many are motivated to improve. Thursday's study from the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index found that 40 percent of people on Medicaid say they're in fair or poor health, compared with 11 percent of those with workplace coverage. The analysis for The Associated Press also showed that Medicaid recipients are invested in their health, with 4 out of 5 saying they have a personal doctor, 3 out of 5 saying they eat healthy, and nearly half saying they exercise frequently.  Still, survey director Dan Witters said that's only half the story. "Just because they smoke more, doesn't mean that they don't have an interest in their health," Witters said of those with Medicaid. "Their interest in their health is generally just as high as it is for other groups ... although I think they are swimming upstream."

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