Medicaid Resumes Paying Health Workers

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Mississippi Medicaid officials will resume paying state Health Department workers to help women with high-risk pregnancies.

The deal, announced Friday, runs through June 30, 2014. Medicaid has typically paid the Health Department more than $8.5 million a year for the program.

The new agreement reverses last month's decision by the Health Department to lay off 82 social workers. At that time, the Division of Medicaid had shifted the program to its two private managed care contractors.

Health Department spokeswoman Liz Sharlott says the program provides home visits to about 6,200 mothers and infants, combined, each year. It's aimed at mothers who previously had premature or low weight babies, and mothers who smoke or have chronic diseases such as diabetes. Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation.