Federal officials have approved Alabama's plan to switch its Medicaid program to managed care. Governor Robert Bentley made the announcement in a press conference. The waiver approval comes after three years of planning and negotiation with federal officials over the proposed change. Instead of the traditional fee-for-service health care delivery model, the state will contract with regional care organizations to provide care and case management services for patients. State officials hope the approach will provide better outcomes for patients by managing their care. They also hope it will help push down spiraling Medicaid costs. About two-thirds of Medicaid patients, or about 650,000 people, will receive care through the new system. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also agreed to provide $328 million to help with the transition.