Iowa's Medicaid program has received a $1.3 million federal grant to create an accountable care organization (ACO) designed to increase quality and lower costs, the Iowa Department of Human Services announced Thursday.

The six-month grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will enable Medicaid to coordinate with other major Iowa health insurers, especially Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in developing the plan.

The three-year goal of the project is to reduce the overall rate of growth of health-care costs for the state as a whole to be no greater than the Consumer Price Index, which is about 2 percent.

An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals and other providers who coordinate high-quality care, especially for the chronically ill. A similar ACO strategy is being developed by major health-care organizations for Medicare patients in Iowa.