Archive for the ‘Medicaid’ Category

10 Critical Care Coordination Model Elements for Medicaid Managed Care Members

May 17th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

There are 10 critical elements of the care coordination model for Independent Health Care Plan (iCare) Medicaid managed care members, according to Lisa Holden, vice president of accountable care, iCare.

The first element and touchpoint for Medicaid managed care members is their care coordinator. “Every single one of our incoming SSI Medicaid members is assigned to a care coordinator,” Holden told participants in the May 2018 webinar, Medicaid Member Engagement: A Telephonic Care Coordination Relationship-Building Strategy, now available for replay. “That person is responsible for everything to do with that member’s coordination of care.”

Care coordinators are assigned to every Medicaid member and are responsible for engaging and coordinating member’s care needs.

“We want our care coordinators to make an initial phone call as early as a couple of days after the member is enrolled in our plan,” she said. “If the member is interested in having a conversation, we offer to conduct a health risk assessment. But if the timing isn’t right, then we offer to schedule another appointment. There’s no pressure except that we want them to feel engaged by us.”

Once completed, the health risk assessment forms the basis of an interdisciplinary individualized care plan created by the care coordinator with the member.

The care coordinator, who is a social worker by background, has access to a nurse, who is available for medically complex members, said Holden.

iCare also relies on health coaches. Health coaches are now teaming up with a care coordinator as much as, if not more than, the nurses are historically, Holden said.

“Our health coaches are literally assigned to work in the community to become very familiar with the resources that are available,” she added. “They are becoming steeped in the communities in which they serve. Each one is assigned to a neighborhood, and we’ve asked them, ‘Get to know the police. Get to know the fire. Get to know the food organizations and food pantries. Get to know the housing specialists in your area.'”

The health coaches also help the care coordinators locate difficult-to-contact members by being in the community as a boots on the ground force. They’re also focused on assessing and addressing social determinants of health.

“We really believe that health coaches are going to be the key to our success in this year and in years to come,” Holden explained.

In addition to the care coordinators, health coaches and nurses, the care coordination team includes two specialized positions…a trauma-informed intervention specialist and a mental health and substance abuse intervention specialist. “We brought those two specialties into this program for our Medicaid members because we know that there’s a high instance of behavioral health conditions, which usually has another diagnosis of alcohol and drug use, not always, but quite often. We wanted to have the team ready to engage the member,” said Holden.

Once the member is engaged, iCare’s care coordination team begins to identify unmet needs, she explained. “We want to know, ‘Is their life going well? Do they have appropriate medical care? Are they in a relationship with a primary care provider that they feel is co-respectful? Are they getting their answers to their questions?'”

To begin talking about medical needs, the care coordination team has to establish trust, said Holden. “We have to talk with the member in an honest way that reflects our respect for them and also engages them in order for them to tell us how they really feel.”

iCare uses the Patient Activation Measure tool to help identify where the member is in a spectrum of four different levels of activation. iCare then tailors its member engagement approach to build a trusting relationship and provide member education by recognizing where they are in their activation level.

Following up on preventive measures are key for the iCare care coordination model. Care coordinators reach out to members for care plan updates. The care plan has to be alive and very member-centric, said Holden. The health risk assessment is repeated each year and the care plan is updated based on those results.

iCare is also focusing on social determinants of health with the recognition that they impact a members’ health more than clinical care. Clinical care attributes to only about 20 percent of somebody’s health outcomes; the rest of that 80 percent is made up of by health behaviors, social and economic factors, and physical environment. “If we don’t get underneath those issues, we can ask for things to improve, but we’re going to see minimal success,” Holden added.

During the webinar, Holden also shared: how the care coordinators helps Medicaid members overcome barriers to care; seven rising risk/acuity identification tools; readmission prevention initiatives for high-risk patients; three programs aimed at reducing high emergency department utilization; and details on a Follow-to-Home program for members who are homeless. Holden also shared: details on language to use…and not to use…when engaging members; advice on the best time to connect with members by phone, such as time of day, specific days of the months; the role of the specialist interventionist compared to the care coordinator; and the background of iCare’s care coordinators and health coaches.

Click here to view the webinar today or order a DVD or CD of the conference proceedings.

Guest Post: How States are Funding Better Care with Medicaid 1115 Waivers

May 15th, 2018 by Elizabeth Lagone

As a result of the shift toward value-based reimbursement models, states are designing and implementing innovative programs to reform how healthcare is delivered and reimbursed.

As healthcare transitions to value-based care models, optimal health system performance is being defined as enhancing the experience and outcome of the patient, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare, also known as the triple aim in healthcare.

As a result of this shift, states are designing and implementing innovative programs to reform how healthcare is delivered and paid for. To fund innovation and provide more resources for collaboration and care management, many states have leveraged funds available under federal Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver programs.

Many states such as California and New York have enacted successful initiatives to improve population health outcomes through better care coordination, population health, and patient engagement. Known as Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (“DSRIP”) Programs, many states are requesting funds under the 1115 waiver and are starting the process of encouraging enhanced collaboration to meet outcomes and satisfaction performance incentives. Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the federal government approved the first DSRIP initiatives in California.

As of February 2018, 10 states are using Section 1115 waivers to implement DSRIP initiatives.

As more states look to reduce unnecessary and costly healthcare utilization and improve patient outcomes through delivery reform, there are many ways that the funds can be used to drive success. From augmenting community resources such as affordable housing and transportation services to incentivizing better care management and coordination of health services, state organizations are taking positive steps to improve their community’s health. While taking these steps can be challenging, the potential rewards are massive.

Current DSRIP Programs are Improving Patient Care

States further along in their DSRIP journeys are seeing great success. To date, the funds have been used to deploy care management programs, such as in the case of New York State’s popular DSRIP program, 2di, healthcare coaching and navigation. Under this program, providers are helping provide patients with the tools necessary to take control of their care. With community referrals and care navigators, patient care is better managed and tailored to each individual’s needs.

Meanwhile, in California, project funds have already been shown to drive success in preventive care measures such as increasing cancer screening and flu vaccination rates among the older DSRIP-eligible patients. These early success indicators provide a baseline for what other states can achieve. As new states such as Texas and Washington take advantage of the 1115 waiver, there are many possibilities for how Medicaid patients may benefit from the grants and investments provided to participating providers.

What States Can Do to Take Full Advantage of the Waiver

As new states begin their own DSRIP journeys, understanding what criteria is most beneficial to meet, how to meet them, and how to report on them is critical. Specifically, there are three things that states should consider when implementing their programs—develop data-driven insights, manage implementation processes, and scale care coordination.

1. Manage Implementation Processes with a Goal for Sustainability: Many of the DSRIP initiatives encourage providers and community partners work together to align local needs and priorities. Since there is a significant administrative lift involved in reaching DSRIP initiatives, time and resources are key investments to ensure long-term success. This includes fostering stakeholder engagement and education; establishing IT, reporting, and reimbursement infrastructure; allocating resources dedicated to legal and financial administration of DSRIP entities; allocating appropriate resources for project selection, implementation, and ongoing management to support sustainability; and identifying and funding new services to empower partners in achieving their DSRIP goals. Although initial phases of DSRIP projects focus on building infrastructure, it is important to develop these processes with a focus on the long-term measurement and improvement of clinical processes and value-based payment models.

2. Engage Patients in a New Way: To encourage preventive health efforts, reduce avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions, and improve healthcare outcomes for low-income patients, providers need to engage patients in a new way while optimizing available resources. Enhancing communication and connectivity between patients and their care teams and improving the ability to navigate and obtain needed clinical and social services is critical for changing the Medicaid healthcare landscape. Simultaneously, it is essential that systems consider available resources (and constraints) and optimize available technologies. Through embracing workflow enhancements and innovation, systems will enhance their ability to outreach and engage high and at-risk patient populations.

3. Scale Care Coordination: Participating providers will need to work with multiple provider types across the care continuum to optimize project design, implementation, and funds flow. Since care management services and providers traditionally operate in silos, DSRIP entities must establish effective integrated care management systems with partners. This will mean needing to face interoperability issues head-on to effectively coordinate care and promote collaboration across different regional providers. As processes are created, it is key to develop clearly-defined roles for each partner type, expected activities, appropriate metrics and outcomes, and reimbursement methodology to promote interoperable communication and documentation systems.

In this era of value-based care, successful transformation of healthcare at the system and state levels requires trusted partnership across the care continuum. Healthcare organizations across the country can make the most of the funds through the 1115 waiver by putting the right people, processes, and technologies in place early on. It will be exciting to see over time how these programs aim to improve access, quality, and coordination of care for at-risk patient populations by enhancing care transitions between healthcare systems and community support services.

Liz Lagone

Liz Lagone

About the Author:

Elizabeth Lagone, MPH, is the Vice President of Government Programs at CipherHealth. Prior to her current role at CipherHealth, Lagone served as the Primary Care Strategy and Improvement Director for DSRIP Initiatives at One City Health, a subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals focused on population health, care management, and implementation of the state’s DSRIP program.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: Medicaid Market Innovations

March 28th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

As the nation’s largest health insurer, Medicaid offers the opportunity to deliver value and improve healthcare on an unparalleled scale. Facing pressure to improve access, efficiency, and quality, the Medicaid market is primed for innovation.

A new infographic by the California Health Care Foundation examines the Medicaid market’s greatest areas of opportunity and some start-ups already making an impact.

Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex PopulationsAsked by its C-suite to quantify contributions of its multidisciplinary care team for its highest-risk patients, AltaMed Health Services Corporation readily identified seven key performance metrics associated with the team. Having demonstrated the team’s bottom line impact on specialty costs, emergency room visits, and HEDIS® measures, among other areas, the largest independent federally qualified community health center (FQHC) was granted additional staff to expand care management for its safety net population.

The Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex Populations chronicles AltaMed’s four-phase rollout of care coordination for dual eligibles—a population with higher hospitalization and utilization and care costs twice those of any other population served by AltaMed.

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Infographic: The Role of Medicaid in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

March 7th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

The opioid epidemic is increasing among Americans, with addiction to heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone
and hydrocodone, contributing to this public health crisis. Medicaid plays a central role in the nation’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic, according to a new infographic by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The infographic examines the escalation of the opioid epidemic, how states are responding and a state-by-state comparison of indicators of Medicaid’s role in addressing the opioid crisis.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2018: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare IndustryHealthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2018: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN’s 14th annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning as leaders react to presidential priorities and seek new strategies for engaging providers, patients and health plan members in value-based care.

HIN’s highly anticipated annual strategic playbook opens with perspectives from industry thought leader Brian Sanderson, managing principal, healthcare services, Crowe Horwath, who outlines a roadmap to healthcare provider success by examining the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing providers in the year to come. Following Sanderson’s outlook is guidance for healthcare payors from David Buchanan, president, Buchanan Strategies, on navigating seven hot button areas for insurers, from the future of Obamacare to the changing face of telehealth to the surprising role grocery stores might one day play in healthcare delivery. Click here for more information.

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Infographic: Medicaid ACO State Activity Map

March 2nd, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

State-based Medicaid accountable care organizations (ACOs) are becoming increasingly prevalent across the country, with more and more states pursuing ACOs as a way to improve health outcomes and control costs through greater provider accountability, according to the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS).

CHCS has created an interactive map that offers an ongoing update of Medicaid ACO activities by state, including governance structure, scope of services, and payment model.

Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex PopulationsAsked by its C-suite to quantify contributions of its multidisciplinary care team for its highest-risk patients, AltaMed Health Services Corporation readily identified seven key performance metrics associated with the team. Having demonstrated the team’s bottom line impact on specialty costs, emergency room visits, and HEDIS® measures, among other areas, the largest independent federally qualified community health center (FQHC) was granted additional staff to expand care management for its safety net population.

The Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex Populations chronicles AltaMed’s four-phase rollout of care coordination for dual eligibles—a population with higher hospitalization and utilization and care costs twice those of any other population served by AltaMed.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

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CCMI’s Primary Care Initiatives Produce Modest, Mixed Results

February 8th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis: Mixed, Modest Results

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s (CCMI) Primary Care Initiatives have produced modest and mixed results, according to a final review of the program conducted by Kennell and Associates, Inc. and RTI International and released by CMS.

The six CMMI initiatives included in the review are the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Advanced Primacy Care Practice demonstration, the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration, the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice (MAPCP) Demonstration, the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative, and the Health Care Innovation Awards Primary Care Redesign Programs (HCIA-PCR), which CMS identified as the most focused on primary care redesign.

Initiative practices did make large strides toward becoming Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) or advanced primary care practices. While less than 10 percent of initiative FQHCs had any PCMH recognition status prior to the initiative, 70 percent achieved NCQA Level-3 recognition by the end of the initiative. Similarly, the CPC evaluation found that CPC initiative practices improved their PCMH Assessment scores by about 50 percent.

While the review did not find consistent impacts across the initiatives or by setting within initiatives for any of the four core outcomes identified by CMS: fee-for-service Medicare hospital admissions, 30-day readmissions, outpatient ED visits, and Medicare expenditures, some of the initiatives did report some positive outcomes.

Of the 22 more granular initiative settings (seven CPC regions, FQHC as a whole, six HCIA-PCR awardees, and eight MAPCP states) for which cumulative results through Year 3 were available, 10 settings experienced improvement relative to their comparison group for at least one of the four core outcome measures at a significance level and three of these settings (two CPC regions and HCIA TransforMED) experienced improvement on at least two core outcomes.

Across four initiatives (CPC, MAPCP, HCIA-PCR, and FQHC), analyses indicated that the aggregate impacts on the core outcomes were small and not statistically significant.

Certain population subgroups and practice types across initiatives experienced more favorable outcomes, according to the analysis. Specifically, beneficiaries originally eligible for Medicare due to disability and beneficiaries with poor health (highest quartile of baseline HCC risk scores) experienced slower growth in Medicare expenditures. However, disability status and HCC risk score were not associated with statically significant impacts on overall rates of hospitalizations or ED visits, and non-dually eligible beneficiaries and those who were not originally eligible for Medicare due to disability experienced lower rates of 30-day readmissions.

The analysis also found slower growth in Medicare expenditures and lower rates of inpatient admissions and ED visits among practices with fewer than six practitioners and also among practices that were not multispecialty practices.

Other key findings from the analysis:

  • There are advantages to both state-convened and CMS-convened initiatives;
  • Practice-level factors are important in addressing transformation challenges; and
  • Initiative-level supports also helped practices meet transformation challenges.

Infographic: Reducing Childhood Obesity Through Medicaid-Public Health Collaboration

January 5th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Nearly one in six children in the U.S. is obese, representing a serious public health problem. Children covered by Medicaid are particularly at risk, with this population nearly six times more likely to be treated for obesity than those who are privately insured. Partnerships between public health and Medicaid can leverage each entity’s strengths to advance interventions aimed at reducing obesity, according to a new infographic by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS).

The infographic describes cross-sector interventions tested by five states participating in CHCS’ Innovations in Childhood Obesity initiative, as well as opportunities for the field.

Assessing Social Determinants of Health: Screening Tools, Triage and Workflows to Link High-Risk Patients to Community ServicesLeveraging the experience of several physician practices already screening patients for social determinants of health (SDOH), Montefiore Health System recently rolled out a two-tiered assessment program to measure SDOH positivity in its predominantly high-risk, government-insured population.

Assessing Social Determinants of Health: Screening Tools, Triage and Workflows to Link High-Risk Patients to Community Services outlines Montefiore’s approach to identifying SDOH markers such as housing, finances, healthcare access and violence that drive 85 percent of patients” well-being, and then connecting high-need individuals to community-based services. Click here for more information.

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Infographic: Advancing Medicare and Medicaid Integration

December 18th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

There are more than 11 million individuals who receive services from both Medicare and Medicaid. State policymakers and their federal and health plan partners are increasingly seeking opportunities to improve Medicare-Medicaid integration for these dually eligible beneficiaries, according to a new infographic by the Center for Health Care Strategies.

The infographic explores the reasons to integrate care for dually-eligible individuals; features of effective programs; and factors influencing state investment in integrated care.

Dual Eligibles Care and Service Planning: Integrative Approaches for the Medicare-Medicaid PopulationTo locate, stratify and engage dual eligibles, Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC) takes a creative approach, employing everything from home visits to ‘street case management’ to coordinate care for Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries.

Dual Eligibles Care and Service Planning: Integrative Approaches for the Medicare-Medicaid Population describes HCSC’s innovative tactics to engage this largely older adult and disabled population in population health management with support from a range of community partners and services.

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From Last Place, Bronx Communities Now Prize Culture of Health

December 7th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Barely eight years ago, the Bronx landed at the very bottom of the first county health rankings issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) —the least healthy of 62 New York counties, to be exact.

It didn’t help that as a borough, the Bronx topped a few other lists compiled by New York officials, including the highest prevalence of obesity and diabetes and the top consumers of sugary drinks.

Rather than discourage this diverse borough, however, these rankings galvanized residents and a number of Bronx organizations, including the Bronx Institute of Health, to partner and examine facets of community life to see where health might be improved. Under the hash tag and rallying cry of #Not62, the coalition’s reach has extended into Bronx schools, housing and even local food stores known as bodegas as it attempts to reimagine and enhance community health.

During Innovative Community-Clinical Partnerships: Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities through Community Transformation, a November 2017 webcast now available for rebroadcast, Charmaine Ruddock, project director, Bronx Health REACH, charted the path to some of the innovative community health partnerships forged by her organization.

Formed in 1999 with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Bronx Health REACH (shorthand for “racial and ethnic approaches to community health”) is charged with eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, particularly those related to diabetes and heart disease, in Bronx populations. Since its inception, Bronx Health REACH has grown from five to more than 70 community-based organizations, schools, healthcare providers, faith-based institutions, housing, social service agencies and others.

“Those founding partners were particularly concerned that Bronx Health REACH not be seen as a program per se, but as a catalyst for creating a movement around health and well-being in the community,” explained Ms. Ruddock.

From early focus groups, Bronx Health REACH determined that community members not only felt disrespected by the healthcare system, but also powerless to advocate on their own behalf for better services. Those findings helped to shape the Bronx Health REACH mission and subsequent efforts.

Outreach began at the organizational level, such as examining the way a local church provided meals at church events. The coalition brainstormed ways to prepare those meals in a healthier manner, supplementing the church’s work with nutrition training that quickly spread throughout the faith community. From there, the program applied that approach to the food offered during school meals and via vending machines, and eventually within the local food retail environment, which consists principally of bodegas.

Today, the scope of Bronx Health REACH is broad, encompassing street safety, physical activity and overall wellness, among other areas. Its early work with bodegas has grown from demonstrations and tastings of healthy foods to the formation of a Bronx bodega work group and a new Healthy Bodegas marketing initiative. It has engaged farmers’ markets in its objective of increasing healthier food options. To that end, healthcare providers now issue “prescriptions” for fruits and vegetables that are accompanied by ten-dollar coupons.

The transformation is visible in the community, Ms. Ruddock notes. Today, some previously padlocked playgrounds are open; murals by visiting artists that adorn the walls of local housing are left alone for all to enjoy.

However, a great deal of work remains. “We have given ourselves as a goal that by 2020, we will establish a multi-sector infrastructure working with housing groups, economic development groups, and others as the first step in addressing many of the health-related factors and issues,” explained Ms. Ruddock.

But for now, the enthusiasm and contributions of Bronx residents have not gone unrewarded. In 2015, just five years after receiving its disappointing health ranking, the Bronx was one of eight recipients of the RWJF’s Culture of Health prize. The prize is awarded to communities that work to ensure residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

Listen to Charmaine Ruddock explain how early findings from focus groups helped to shape Bronx Health REACH initiatives.

Healthcare Hotwire: Medicaid Trends

December 2nd, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Medicaid Trends

Medicaid has moved to the forefront of the national healthcare debate even as states continue to innovate.

2017 marked the year that Medicaid moved to the forefront of the national conversation, as perception—and politics—caught up with the reality that no other social welfare program touches more Americans. While the robust debate remains unsettled, it’s clear that the future of Medicaid coverage, and resulting expenditure impacts, will remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future, dominating the headlines and permeating the nation’s debate, according to a new report by PwC.

Despite uncertainty about potential federal Medicaid legislative changes, many states are continuing efforts to expand managed care, move ahead with payment and delivery system reforms, increase provider payment rates, and expand benefits as well as community-based long-term services and supports. Emerging trends include proposals to restrict eligibility (e.g., work requirements) and impose premiums through Section 1115 waivers, movement to include value-based purchasing requirements in MCO contracts, and efforts to combat the growing opioid epidemic, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.

In the new edition of Healthcare Hotwire, you’ll learn more about Medicaid collaborations, the role of community partners in serving Medicaid beneficiaries and the potential impact of Medicaid cuts.

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