NIH awards grant to develop 'TurboTax for eligibility for public health'

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant to a firm focusing on developing software to ease determining eligibility for public health programs.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, My Coverage Plan Inc., a subsdiary of public interest firm ABS for Health, will try to develop software to help train hospital staff, including administrators and financial counselors, in eligibility requirements of Medicaid, Medicare and other programs.

The company hopes such a product could increase usage of public health programs and reduce debt-related expenses for hospitals.

"NIH understands these technologies are slow to develop," Peterson said. "They are not something that you can just roll out."

My Coverage Plan previously received two multiyear grants — one totaling $1.2 million and the other totaling $400,000 — from the National Institutes of Health.

"These grants are the fuel to get us started," Peterson said.

My Coverage Plan has partnered with St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wisc., and will soon start testing the software system.