Sebelius was joined during her announcement by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, who said the 135,000 dual eligibles in her state require $1 billion per year in healthcare costs. Though they represent only 12% of the Medicaid caseload, they account for more than one-third of the spending, she said.
"If we could just reduce the cost of 2% a year by investing in community-based solutions rather than nursing homes, which is what our patients want anyway, by helping them avoid psychiatric hospitalizations, we believe we could save at least $10 million a year just with that small segment – that high-risk segment of our dual eligible population."
"This is our costliest population, with the greatest need, yet we're not able to focus on what's right for them," Gregoire said. "The opportunities you've provided us will make this possible now."