COLUMBUS: Ohio Gov. John Kasichís administration says itís on track to convert the state Medicaid office into its own agency by next July.

In an announcement Friday, Governorís Office of Health Transformation Director Greg Moody said the office will move out of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The move is the next step in the administrationís efforts to improve the performance of Ohioís nearly $19 billion Medicaid program. The switch will be complete July 1, 2014.

Moody said the change was recommended by two different study commissions in 2005 and 2006, and so itís overdue.

Removing Medicaid from the stateís social services agency will allow Job and Family Services to better focus on welfare benefits programs.