CHICAGO— Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Feb. 12 unveiled the draft of a five-year plan to overhaul the state Medicaid program in hopes of snaring $5.2 billion in additional federal funding.

"This plan will help take our healthcare system to the next level - improving the health of people and communities across Illinois while significantly lowering our long-term costs," Quinn said in a statement.

Quinn dubbed the plan "The Path to Transformation" and posted a draft with hearings set for the coming weeks ahead of its submission to the federal government. Federal approval of a waiver is needed.

The plan calls for the consolidation of nine programs that serve individuals with special needs and are run by various state agencies. The state would use funds to create patient-centered health homes; increase the focus on prevention, primary care and wellness, and help rebuild and expand the state's home and community-based infrastructure, especially for those with complex health and behavioral health needs.

The plan was crafted with the input from healthcare advocates and providers.

If the federal government approves the state's waiver application, officials anticipate it could leverage an estimated $1 billion in addition federal matching dollars annually over five years to improve the delivery of healthcare service with the goal of lowering long-term costs for the state and federal government.

"We support the general direction of the waiver to bring in critically needed federal funding to transform the Medicaid program to ensure effective, coordinated care for the most vulnerable citizens of Illinois," Illinois Hospital Association President Maryjane Wurth said in the state's announcement.

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