Medicaid began more than three decades ago as a jointly funded federal-state program for low-income and disabled individuals. Today, it has evolved into a $150 billion public health care program, serving approximately 36 million beneficiaries in 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories--proving that it has become more than just a health care program. Medicaid is a business charged with a mission that ranges from providing medical care to supporting the development of state health policies and health care reform. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in running Medicaid programs efficiently and effectively.

In the early 1970s a public law was enacted requiring states to have a mechanized claims processing and information retrieval system for Medicaid purposes. This system is commonly known as MMIS (Medicaid Management Information System). These systems are designed to help states administer Medicaid programs with high degrees of efficiency and effectiveness, while safeguarding the limited state and federal funds allocated to the program. EDS, a major information technology service company, provides MMIS services to nearly 20 states, including Arkansas and Mississippi.

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