Frontline Initiative Teamwork

State of the Art Definition:
Managed Care

For most people “managed care” is a familiar term, often associated with the way in which many of them receive their health care. But what does managed care have to do with support services for people with developmental disabilities? As cuts in both federal and state budgets have been the trend in the last several years, methods for containing cost, especially in areas funded by Medicaid, have been part of the discussion. Most support services to people with developmental disabilities and to the elderly are funded through Medicaid. Efforts to contain costs have been linked with managed care options. Managed care is any number of strategies that seek to maximize the value of services by controlling their cost and use. One concern about managed care is that because there is a limited pot of money and limitations on services, people may not get the basic care they need. On the other hand, with its emphasis on avoiding unnecessary services and implementing quality assurance mechanisms, managed care could be one way to serve more people with the same amount of money. Like any major funding change, a move to managed care would have to be done thoughtfully and with the active participation of the communities it affects.