Clinical Services

HMA 2024 Spring Workshop summary and key takeaways

On March 6, HMA convened a spring workshop of 100 healthcare stakeholders interested in making value-based care delivery and payment work better. This event was designed for those engaging in value-based care and payment transformation, but who are looking to learn from peers to overcome challenges; participants included insurers, health systems, data and tech innovators, service providers, and trade associations.

The event’s name implored people to “Get Real” about the challenges we all face, while reminding ourselves of the imperative of making this transition to ensure the sustainability of our uniquely American healthcare system. In between plenary panels, participants were engaged in cohort discussions exploring the opportunities for progress in areas critical to making value-based care work.  While a summary cannot recreate the real-time discussions and simulations from the event, our discussions delivered insights on several critical themes that we believe are important to track. 

EMPLOYERS ARE LEANING IN: For all employers pay, they are getting less value over the past decade; the changes made to ERISA that hold the C-suite accountable for paying fair prices for healthcare benefits is a seismic shift in making healthcare purchasing a more strategic priority for employers.

  • Elizabeth Mitchell of the Purchaser Business Group on Health illustrated the shift in employers’ awareness – due to data transparency rules – that they aren’t getting the quality they thought they were getting for all that they pay. Transparency, plus a recent change to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), is bringing employers back to the table with very specific requests for better outcomes, which they are increasingly pursuing through direct contracting and specific quality frameworks for primary care, maternal care, and behavioral health. Participants continued to reflect on this dynamic in all subsequent discussions, underscoring that this could be a really big deal.
  • Cheryl Larson of the Midwestern Business Group on Health talked about the cost pressure on her members leading them to partner in new and different ways, expressing optimism about all payer solutions and other innovative approaches to leverage the cost data that are now available. In her closing plenary session, she said “this issue of accountability on employers…I am excited and optimistic that there are things we can do to get there faster now.”

Data & Technology HAVE TO IMPACT DECISION MAKING: Patients are using the system the way it is designed today, so we can’t just blame them for poor outcomes…we have to actually stop doing things that don’t work and start measuring things the right way.

  • Dr. Katie Kaney opened with a dinner keynote discussing her efforts to create metrics that give purchasers a better measurement of whole person care, including clinical, genetic, behavioral, and social factors. Audience members remarked that this was a novel approach to quantify what has become accepted correlation in adverse health outcomes.
  • Ryan Howells, Dave Lee, and Stuart Venzke led discussions on Data & Technology, diving into updated federal regulations that present both opportunities and challenges for stakeholders, as well as ways to create corporate strategies that include data and technology, as these issues are no longer optional for anyone in this business. The breakout discussions talked about where we are today vs where we need to be – bridging the gap between data and decision making.

Payment & Risk TOOLS ARE ALIGNING INFORMATION TO ACTION:  Achieving meaningful risk-based contracts is possible but the details matter…mismatched data and information leads to unequal buying power, which cannot be the case in value-based care.

  • Kelsey Stevens, Scott Malan, Hunter Schouweiler, and Kate de Lisle led discussions on Payment & Risk, including an exciting hands-on simulation exercise that helped participants understand ways to increase premium scores by implementing risk-based payment approaches within the care delivery system; this session provided very concrete takeaways for those who attended by combining a simulation with a discussion on measures of success to improve risk-based contracting strategies.
  • Amy Bassano and Kate de Lisle discussed their recent publication on the expanded ecosystem of value-based care entities, looking at the “enablers” who are working with providers and payers to manage risk. This groundbreaking landscape of this market segment highlighted a set of Guiding Principles to ensure these entities are aligned with CMS, provider, and patient goals. Participants had lots of questions for the presenters and were anxious to read the HMA full report.

CARE DELIVERY MEASURES MUST BE TANGIBLE TO PROVIDERS AND PATIENTS: Value-based care requires aligning the right metrics with the right incentives, ensuring providers understand not only WHY but HOW they help improve patient outcomes.

  • Rachel Bembas, Dr. Jean Glossa, and Dr. Elizabeth Wolff led discussions on Care Delivery Measures, underscoring the importance of involving clinicians in the establishment of outcomes measures, as well as ensuring that the diversity of patient experiences are included. Participants remarked that we have a lot of “messy” data today, so we now have to ask the next set of questions on how we best use the messy data to make an impact?
  • Former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz talked about the continuing promise of Medicare Advantage, and the opportunity to convene a new alliance around Medicare quality metrics as well as the increasing pressure to align these metrics across payers. In the closing plenary, she said “We need to define what we want healthcare in America to look like and then go out and get it…. We have to align the measurements and the standards we use so that providers understand what’s needed and it benefits government, taxpayers, and beneficiaries…we should require plans to have risk-based contracting with providers.”

Policy & Strategy HAVE TO STAY THE COURSE TO ALIGN INCENTIVES: Policymakers can help or hinder movement forward to ensure success…value-based care has to be more than a section in an RFP, but part of the entire scope of paying for outcomes-based care delivery.

  • Governor and former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt reminded us of the political and policy journey that got value to where it is today, and the unique moment we are in right now that gives us hope as we enter this post-pandemic phase of healthcare spending and policy. He reflected, “We are beginning to see regulations and mechanisms to hold people accountable for healthcare costs…we have to integrate value and caregiving or we will never get to value.”
  • Theresa Eagelson, former Illinois Director of Healthcare and Family Services, talked about the opportunity for states to expand value-based care by setting strong expectations through contracting and by thinking differently about policy choices. She reflected on the role of state administrators, “When we sit here and talk about value-based care, do we know what our north star is? Have we mastered what we want to see in RFPs (for Medicaid)?  We’re working on a good FQHC model in Illinois, but should it be just for FQHCs? We need to spend more time together, across payers, across plans and providers and consumers to figure out what success looks like.”
  • Caprice Knapp and Teresa Garate led a discussion on state and local Policy & Strategy to support integrated care and services that are required to achieve better outcomes. There is a need for services to better coordinate and manage care across social and health services, bringing contracting and payment expertise to more efficiently serve patients. The highly anticipated Medicaid managed care rule can help guide states in updating their approach. Federal analysis of Medicaid data is needed to set benchmarks before we can get to total cost of care approaches.
  • Amy Bassano and AnneMarie Lauterbach led a discussion on federal policy alignment of Medicare FFS and Medicare Advantage, particularly looking at drug spending and the very real burden of medical debt as a driver of policy change. Participants reflected that half the country is indirectly covered through some public insurance. It’s just being done hyper-inefficiently.

HMA is leading the way on value-based care and is committed to continuing these dialogues to drive local, state, and national change. HMA’s value-based care expertise draws from our acquisition of Leavitt Partners and Wakely Consulting Group, two firms with deep ties and expertise on policy, strategy and risk-based pricing strategies, as well as recruitment of clinicians and operational experts who have led organizations through this transition. We will continue to advance the dialogue – and the work – to drive value as a critical way to ensure that our systems of health and healthcare are more affordable, equitable, and sustainable.

Let’s keep the conversation going! Click here to learn more about how HMA can help you succeed with value-based payments and check out the newly released value-based payment readiness assessment tool for behavioral health providers.

New Leavitt Partners report examines site-neutral payments

A new report by Leavitt Partners, an HMA Company, outlines the concept of site-neutral payment reforms being considered as a potential program improvement, and proposes a compromise approach to implementing site-neutral payments that benefits beneficiaries, hospitals, and the Medicare program. Site-neutral payments, which would equalize payment for the same services across all settings of care, are most commonly considered in connection with outpatient or ambulatory settings. Because out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries are based on a percentage of the total reimbursement costs, any policy that reduces reimbursement for some services would result in savings to Medicare beneficiaries.

The approach proposed in the report lowers out-of-pocket costs to Medicare beneficiaries, improves the financing of the Medicare program by addressing a payment distortion, and reinvests in hospitals through new targeted funding and inclusion of policy priorities. 

Access the full report

Contact Matt Gallivan for more information.

Devising a framework for non-profit fundraising

Money is always “top-of-mind” among non-profit leaders, from CEO’s at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to Executive Directors at Community-based Organizations. To supplement projects and retain the ability to further their missions, non-profit organizations (NPOs) need funding. When non-profits and funding sources are not well aligned, programs are cut, curtailed, or never launched. Assisting clients in pursuing alternative funding sources requires a creative yet methodical approach to promote success and boost organizational sustainability.

Devising a framework for non-profit funding presents challenges. Funding models/strategies cannot be too general nor too specific. There is not a single approach, a one size fits all model or sourcing strategy for non-profits to pursue. Instead, non-profit leaders must clearly articulate the funding model or strategy that best supports the growth of their organization and use that insight to examine the potential funding opportunities preeminently associated with organization-specific success. For example, a community health center serving patients covered by Medicaid and a non-profit organization doing development work in housing for the homeless are both funded by the federal government, yet the type of funding each receives and the decision makers controlling that funding are very different. Utilizing the same funding methodology for the two would not be productive. Fortunately, there are multiple methods and strategies to acquire funds. Non-profits should be strategic in seeking approaches suitable to their needs and capabilities and be creative in pursuing more than one model to acquire supplemental funds.

The core success of NPOs is based on a range of funding options, private grants and government grants, corporate sponsorships, private funding, endowments, and community fundraising. There is also a considerable amount of money available from the public sector, businesses, charitable trusts, foundations, in-kind donations, and local and state legislative bodies. The goal of any successful fundraising campaign is to convey fully what the money is or will be supporting and clearly articulate the projected positive outcomes that will be derived from the funding. Once the project is fully clarified, the next step is research. Many funding avenues exist. The NPO must decide which funding sources are best suited for each project and pursue those options.

When choosing potential funding sources, NPOs must consider the size of their organization, their mission, and various other defining characteristics. Once this internal due diligence is completed, revenue needs should be clarified, and a tactical fundraising strategy outlined. Creating a “ratio” with the end-result in mind allows for revenue diversification and avoids the too heavy reliance on one income source. For example, an NPO might project obtaining 50% of needed revenues from grants, 20% from a corporate sponsorship, and the remaining 30% from a foundation. Once the funding sources have been identified, the types of decision makers and the motivations of these decision makers must be evaluated. Then, a tactical roadmap designed to obtain the needed funding should be implemented. 

As society looks to the non-profit sector to solve important problems, a realistic understanding of funding models is increasingly important to realizing these aspirations. As consultants whose mission is to turn challenges into triumph for our clients, championing efficacious, high-yielding funding models ensures long-term viability for the organizations we serve.

Success relies on planning. It is much better to be proactive than reactive. Consider your organization’s funding needs, do your research, and lay the groundwork before diving into any fundraising pursuit. An assessment of your organization’s current funding strategies is essential. What is working; what is not? Is the current funding source reflective of the organization’s mission and values? Use the answers to these questions to make decisions and recommendations on which fundraising strategies to source. Get creative! Brainstorm unconventional ways your organization will stand out to potential funders, but be analytical. Balance creativity with data, keeping in mind which funding strategy reflects the best return. Focus time and energy on the funding model that will be most reliable, profitable, and feasible.

The non-profit world rarely engages in a succinct conversation about an organization’s appropriate long-term funding strategy. That is because the different types of funding that fuel non-profits have never been clearly defined. More than a poverty of language, this represents and results in a poverty of understanding and clear thinking. As consultants, HMA can provide an outside perspective and sort through the minutia presenting a clear, methodical, appropriate path to fundraising success.

Potential links to aid in your fundraising endeavors:

https://www.fqhc.org/funding-opportunities
https://www.samhsa.gov/grants
https://www.usgrants.org/business/mental-health-services
https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/mental-health/funding
https://about.bankofamerica.com/en/making-an-impact/grant-funding-for-nonprofits-sponsorship-programs
https://theathenaforum.org/grants

HMA works with a wide variety of healthcare clients, including FQHCs, community-based organizations, hospitals, provider practices, behavioral health, and managed care organizations, and can help with:

  • Grant Writing
  • Technical Assistance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial planning, Implementation and Optimization

For more information about how HMA can help your organization’s grant and funding strategies, contact our experts below.

Learning the invaluable lessons of value-based care at 2023 HMA conference

If you search the term “value-based care” on the internet you will find over 2.5 million hits on that term alone. No one would disagree with the need to provide value to patients and purchasers, but how we define value differs based on where we sit. Value is paying for outcomes, not volume of services. Value is ensuring that patients get the right care at the right time. Value is ensuring that purchasers pay a reasonable cost for the highest possible quality. Value is ensuring that healthcare is provided equitably and sustainably. Implementing value is even trickier than defining it, given the complexity of who pays for care and the challenges of measuring the outcomes we seek to reward.  

From the top office of HHS to the back office of a health center and everywhere in between, HMA leaders have been part of our collective journey to value: advancing policy and regulatory change, calculating risk and setting prices, crafting alternative payment models, integrating social services and behavioral health, and coaching industry leaders to make important changes to their business models to adapt to a more sustainable approach to American healthcare. These experiences – both successes and challenges – provide a unique perspective from which to advise clients on transformation of healthcare.  

The HMA 2023 fall conference, scheduled for October 30-31, 2023, has thoughtfully curated several discussions to educate, enlighten and motivate attendees on industry standards and navigating the practicality of providing value in care, coverage, and patient experience in publicly funded healthcare:  

Leading the Charge on Value, Equity and Growth: The Future of Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: Discuss how these public programs came to be the industry standard bearers and what this shift means for outcomes, affordability, policy, and the overall direction of U.S. healthcare.  

Positive Change and the Growing Importance of Managed Care in Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: Discuss the future of publicly sponsored healthcare, outline promising initiatives aimed at improving coverage and care, and address key concerns over funding, policy, equity, and coordination between government, plans, providers, and members.  

The Future of Delivery Systems: Achieving Operational and Financial Sustainability: Discuss a wide range of practical approaches to prepare for the future, including managing cash flow, optimizing the workforce, developing long-term reimbursement plans, improving operational efficiency, and addressing changes in government policy.   

Real Talk from the Trenches of Value-based Payments: Learn about the advantages and pitfalls of value-based payments, with important insights from organizations that have made it work.  

Navigating Change in Medicare Advantage: A Roadmap for Success: Discuss what Medicare Advantage plans must do to meet the demanding, new requirements – all against a backdrop of continued efforts to improve equity, access, outcomes, and cost.   

In addition, a pre-conference workshop on behavioral health will be held the afternoon of October 29th, prior to the official start of the conference. This workshop will highlight the integral role of behavioral healthcare in improving patient outcomes across the continuum of publicly sponsored healthcare programs.  

We are excited to engage with industry experts throughout these discussions about value-based care and forge a better path forward toward a more sustainable and equitable system of care.  

To treat residents with OUD, nursing facilities must improve practices and reduce stigma

This week, our In Focus section highlights a Health Affairs Forefront post, “To Treat Residents With OUD, Nursing Facilities Must Improve Practices and Reduce Stigma,” published June 8, 2023. Health Management Associates (HMA) consultants Dina BesirevicKamala Greene GeneceDebbi WithamDavid F. Polakoff, and Barry J. Jacobs wrote the article.

The HMA colleagues note that two recent healthcare industry trends are converging to change the admission criteria and clinical practices that some skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) use. Driving one movement is the opioid epidemic in which increased prevalence of fentanyl and its medical complications are spurring the need for posthospital discharge SNF admissions. The other stems from the low occupancy rates in many SNFs since the pandemic. As a result, more SNFs are considering filling beds by admitting individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) for the first time.

In many respects, this a positive development. The need for skilled nursing care, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for individuals with OUD has never been greater. A March 23, 2023, US Drug Enforcement Administration public safety alert reported that recently analyzed fentanyl samples in 48 of the 50 states had been adulterated with xylazine, or “tranq,” a veterinary sedative added to prolong an opioid high. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), extensive xylazine use commonly causes severe skin wounds requiring weeks of intravenous antibiotics and skilled wound care to prevent amputations. Providing well-managed post-acute care for these patients could lead to improved outcomes.

But admitting and treating individuals with OUD now poses multiple challenges for SNF staffs and administrators. Many of these healthcare workers lack training in OUD pharmacological and support care. Some have stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with OUD. To address these concerns, SNFs across the country have developed different practice models. Examples include:

  • Laguna Honda in San Francisco trains its staff to understand OUD, recognize the signs of resident opioid use, and work closely with nearby OUD providers to provide all OUD treatment.
  • At Highbridge Woodycrest Center in the Bronx, NY, the storage and administration of MAT is managed by the SNF staff through a collaborative relationship with a community-based provider, Bronx Care Health System, which prescribes the medications and then delivers them to the facility.
  • At other SNFs, SNF physicians and nurse practitioners prescribe buprenorphine with consultation as needed from community-based OUD providers.

HMA’s experts in OUD and SNFs are working collaboratively to assist SNFs interested in exploring the clinical, financial, and operational opportunities and challenges with this emerging line of business. For questions or inquiries, please contact Barry J. Jacobs.

Link to Health Affairs post.

HMA annual conference on innovations in publicly sponsored healthcare

Innovations in Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: How Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplaces Are Driving Value, Equity, and Growth

Pre-Conference Workshop: October 29, 2023
Conference: October 30−31, 2023
Location: Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park

Health Management Associates has announced the preliminary lineup of speakers for its sixth annual conference, Innovations in Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: How Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplaces Are Driving Value, Equity, and Growth.

Hundreds of executives from health plans, providers, state and federal government, investment firms, and community-based organizations will convene to enjoy top-notch content, make new connections, and garner fresh ideas and best practices.

A pre-conference workshop, Behavioral Health at the Intersection of General Health and Human Services, will take place Sunday, October 29.

Confirmed speakers to date include (in alphabetical order):

  • Jacey Cooper, State Medicaid Director, Chief Deputy Director, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Kelly Cunningham, Administrator, Division of Medical Programs, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Karen Dale, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Mitchell Evans, Market Vice-President, Policy & Strategy, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles, Humana
  • Peter Lee, Health Care Policy Catalyst and former Executive Director, Covered California
  • John Lovelace, President, Government Programs, Individual Advantage, UPMC Health Plan
  • Julie Morita, MD, Executive Vice President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Anne Rote, President, Medicaid, Health Care Service Corp.
  • Drew Snyder, Executive Director, Mississippi Division of Medicaid
  • Tim Spilker, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community & State
  • Stacie Weeks, Administrator/Medicaid Director, Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
  • Lisa Wright, President and CEO, Community Health Choice

Publicly sponsored programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Marketplaces are leading the charge in driving value, equity, and growth in the U.S. healthcare system. This year’s event will highlight the innovations, initiatives, emerging models, and growth strategies designed to drive improved patient outcomes, increased affordability, and expanded access.

Conference Agenda

Early bird registration ends July 31. Questions may be directed to Carl Mercurio at [email protected]. Group rates, government discounts, and sponsorships are available.

Register Now

New experts join HMA in April 2023

HMA is pleased to welcome new experts to our family of companies in April 2023.

Jed Abell – Consulting Actuary
Wakely

Jed Abell is a professional health insurance actuary with over 20 years of experience focusing on Medicare Advantage, Part D, and commercial employer group plans.

Surah Alsawaf – Senior Consultant
HMA

Surah Alsawaf is a senior consultant with experience in creating and implementing regulatory strategies and workflows, conducting reviews and audits, and leading cross-functional teams to complete complex deliverables.

Elrycc Berkman – Consulting Actuary
Edrington

Elrycc Berkman is experienced in Medicaid managed care rate development including managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) and program of all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE) rate development.

Monica Bonds – Associate Principal
HMA

Monica Bonds is an experienced managed care professional with over 15 years of experience working in large and diverse organizations.

Yucheng Feng – Senior Consulting Actuary
Wakely

Yucheng Feng has over 15 years of experience providing actuarial support for Medicare Advantage clients, including bid preparation, reserve, actuarial analytics and providing strategic recommendations. Read more about Yucheng.

Melanie Hobbs – Associate Principal
HMA

Melanie Hobbs is an accomplished healthcare executive, consultant, and thought leader specializing in Medicare, Medicaid, and Special Needs Plans (SNPs).

Daniel Katzman – Consulting Actuary
Wakely

Daniel Katzman is experienced in Medicare Advantage bid pricing and modeling as well as claims trend analytics and affordability/cost-savings analysis. Read more about Daniel.

Supriya Laknidhi – Principal
HMA

Supriya Laknidhi has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry and a proven track record in driving growth and innovation for companies.

Donald Larsen – Principal
HMA

Dr. Donald Larsen is a C-suite physician executive with over 30 years of experience spanning complex academic medical centers, community health systems, acute care hospitals, and research institutes.

Ryan McEntee – Senior Consultant
Wakely

Ryan McEntee is an experienced managed care executive specializing in strategic leadership within Medicare Advantage plans. Read more about Ryan.

Nicole Oishi – Principal
HMA

Nicole Oishi has over 30 years of experience in senior leadership roles as a healthcare clinician and executive.

Read more about our new HMA colleagues

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Surah Alsawaf

Senior Consultant

Elrycc Berkman

Elrycc Berkman

Consulting Actuary II

Monica Bonds

Monica Bonds

Associate Principal

Melanie Hobbs

Associate Principal

Don Larsen

Donald Larsen

Principal

Lee Fleisher of CMS to keynote HMA national quality conference

Join us on Monday, March 6, 2023, at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, for “Healthcare Quality Conference: A Deep Dive on What’s Next for Providers, Payers, and Policymakers,” where Lee Fleisher, MD, chief medical officer and director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, will deliver the keynote titled A Vision for Healthcare Quality: How Policy Can Drive Improved Outcomes.

HMA’s first annual quality conference will provide organizations the opportunity to “Focus on Quality to Improve Patients’ Lives.” Attendees will hear from industry leaders and policy makers about evolving health care quality initiatives and participate in substantive workshops where they will learn about and discuss solutions that are using quality frameworks to create a more equitable health system.

In addition to Fleisher, featured speakers will executives from ANCOR, CareOregon, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Council on Quality and Leadership, Intermountain Healthcare, NCQA, Reema Health, Kaiser Permanente, United Hospital Fund, and others.

Working sessions will provide expert-led discussions about how quality is driving federal and state policy, behavioral health integration, approaches to improving equity and measuring the social determinants of health, integration of disability support services, stronger Medicaid core measures, strategies for Medicare Star Ratings, value-based payments, and digital measures and measurement tools. Speakers will provide case studies and innovative approaches to ensuring quality efforts result in lasting improvements in health outcomes.

“What’s different about this conference is that participants will engage in working sessions that provide healthcare executives tools and models for directly impacting quality at their organizations,” said Carl Mercurio, Principal and Publisher, HMA Information Services. 

View the Full Agenda

Early Bird registration ends January 30. Visit the conference website for complete details or contact Carl Mercurio at 212-575-5929/[email protected].  Group rates and sponsorships are available.

Register Now

2022 Yearly Roundup: a year of successful partnerships

The holiday season is grounded in gratitude. At HMA, we are grateful for successful partnerships that have fueled change to improve lives.

We are proud to be trusted advisors to our clients and partners. Their success is our success. In 2022 our clients and partners made significant strides tackling the biggest healthcare challenges, seizing opportunities for growth and innovation, and shaping the healthcare landscape in a way that improves the health and wellness of individuals and communities.

Reforming Colorado’s Behavioral Health System

HMA partnered with the Colorado Department of Human Services to support the planning and implementation of a new Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). HMA provided technical research and extensive stakeholder engagement, drafted models for forming and implementing the BHA, employed an extensive change management approach, and created a detailed implementation plan with ongoing support. Today the BHA is a cabinet member-led agency that collaborates across agencies and sectors to drive a comprehensive and coordinated strategic approach to behavioral health.

From Bid to Trusted Advisor

Wakely Consulting Group, an HMA Company, was engaged to support the launch of a Medicare Advantage (MA) joint venture partnership between a health plan and a provider system. Wakely was responsible for preparing and certifying MA and Medicare Part D (PD) bids, a highly complex, exacting, and iterative effort. The Wakely team quickly became a trusted advisor and go-to resource for the joint venture decision makers. The joint venture has driven significant market growth over its initial years, fueled by a competitive benefit package determined by the client product team.

Laying the Foundation for Modernizing Indiana’s Public Health System

In 2021 Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb appointed a 15-member commission to assess Indiana’s public health system and make recommendations for improvements. The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) engaged HMA to provide extensive project management and support for six workstreams. HMA prepared a draft report summarizing public input as well as research findings and recommendations. The commission’s final report will form the basis of proposed 2023 legislation, including proposals to substantially increase public health service and funding across the state.

Multiple Clients Accepted into ACO REACH Model

In early 2022 HMA and Wakely Consulting Group, an HMA Company, assisted multiple clients with their applications to participate in the new CMS ACO REACH model. The purpose of this model is to improve quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries through better care coordination and increased engagement between providers and patients including those who are underserved. The team tailored their support depending on each client’s needs. The application selection process was highly competitive. Of the 271 applications received, CMS accepted just under 50 percent. Notably, nine out of the 10 organizations HMA and Wakely supported were accepted into the model.

Pipeline Research and Policy Recommendations to Address New Innovative Therapies

HMA, and subsidiaries The Moran Company and Leavitt Partners, were selected by a large pharmaceutical manufacturer to analyze the current pipeline of innovative therapies, examine reimbursement policies to assess long-term compatibility with the adoption of innovative therapies and novel delivery mechanisms, and make policy recommendations to address any challenges identified through the process. The project equipped the client with a holistic understanding of future potential impacts and actions to address challenges in a detailed pipeline analysis of innovative therapies.

Highlights from Kaiser/HMA 50-state Medicaid Director survey

This week, our In Focus section reviews highlights and shares key takeaways from the 22nd annual Medicaid Budget Survey conducted by The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Management Associates (HMA). Survey results were released on October 25, 2022, in two new reports: How the Pandemic Continues to Shape Medicaid Priorities: Results from an Annual Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 and Medicaid Enrollment & Spending Growth: FY 2022 & 2023. The report was prepared by Elizabeth Hinton, Madeline Guth, Jada Raphael, Sweta Haldar, and Robin Rudowitz from the Kaiser Family Foundation and by Kathleen Giff­ordAimee Lashbrook, and Matt Wimmer from HMA; and Mike Nardone. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD).

This survey reports on policies in place or planned for FY 2022 and FY 2023, including state experiences with policies adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusions are based on information provided by the nation’s state Medicaid Directors.

Key Report Highlights

In the following sections, we highlight a few of the major findings from the reports. This is a fraction of what is covered in the 50-state survey reports, which include significant detail and findings on policy changes and initiatives related to delivery systems, health equity, benefits, telehealth, provider rates and taxes, and pharmacy. The reports also look at the opportunities, challenges, and priorities facing Medicaid programs.

Medicaid Enrollment and Spending Growth

The COVID-19 pandemic created significant implications for Medicaid. During this time, Medicaid enrollment has reached record highs due to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enacted in March 2020, which authorized a 6.2 percentage point increase in the federal match rate, or Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), retroactive to January 1, 2020, and until the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends. The increase was available to states that meet certain “maintenance of eligibility” (MOE) requirements. Since the survey, the PHE was extended to mid-January 2023, somewhat delaying the anticipated effects described in survey.

Medicaid enrollment growth slowed to 8.4 percent in FY 2022, after a sharp increase in FY 2021 (11.2 percent). Almost all responding states reported that the MOE continuous enrollment requirement was the most significant factor driving FY 2022 enrollment growth. Responding states expect Medicaid enrollment growth to decline (-0.4 percent) in FY 2023, based largely on the assumption that the PHE and the related MOE requirements would end by mid-FY 2023. States anticipate larger declines as Medicaid redeterminations and renewals resume.

In FY 2022, total Medicaid spending is expected to reach a peak growth of 12.5 percent, with enrollment growth as the primary driver. For FY 2023, total spending growth is expected to slow to 4.2 percent, assuming slower enrollment growth after the unwinding of the PHE. State Medicaid spending grew by 9.9 percent in FY 2022 and is projected to increase by 16.3 percent in FY 2023 once enhanced federal fiscal relief expires. If the PHE is extended, state spending increases and enrollment decreases that states anticipated for FY 2023 could occur later.

Figure 1 – Percent Change in Medicaid Spending and Enrollment, FY 1998-23

SOURCE: FY 2022-2023 spending data and FY 2023 enrollment data are derived from the KFF survey of Medicaid officials in 50 states and DC conducted by Health Management Associates, October 2022. 49 states submitted survey responses by Oct. 2022; state response rates varied across questions. Historic data reflects growth across all 50 states and DC and comes from various sources.

Delivery Systems

  • Capitated managed care remains the predominant delivery system for Medicaid in most states. Forty-six states operated some form of Medicaid managed care (managed care organizations (MCOs) and/or primary care case management (PCCM)). Forty-one states contracted with risk-based MCOs. Of these, only Colorado and Nevada did not offer MCOs statewide. Only five states – Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming – lacked a comprehensive Medicaid managed care model.
    • Thirty-four states, including Distrct of Columbia, operate MCOs only, five states operate PCCM programs only, and seven states operate both MCOs and a PCCM program.
    • Twenty-seven states contracted with one or more PHPs to provide Medicaid benefits, including behavioral health care, dental care, vision care, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), and long-term services and supports (LTSS).
  • Of the forty-one states that contracted with MCOs, 35 reported that 75 percent or more of their Medicaid beneficiaries were enrolled in MCOs as of July 1, 2022.

Figure 2 – MCO Managed Care Penetration Rates for Select Groups of Medicaid Beneficiaries as of July 1, 2022

SOURCE: KFF survey of Medicaid officials in 50 states and DC conducted by HMA, October 2022.

Medicaid Managed Care and Delivery System Changes

  • California, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York reported expanding mandatory MCO enrollment for targeted populations.
  • Missouri and Ohio reported introducing specialized managed care programs for children with complex needs.
  • California, Nevada, and Tennessee indicated that they were carving in certain long-term services and supports (LTSS) into their managed care programs.
  • California and Ohio reported carving out pharmacy services in FY 2022 or FY 2023, respectively. The District of Columbia carved out emergency medical transportation from its MCO contracts in FY 2022.
  • Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington reported changes to their PCCM programs.
  • Virginia plans to implement Cardinal Care in FY 2023, merging the state’s two existing managed care programs: Medallion 4.0 (serving children, pregnant individuals, and adults) and Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus (CCC Plus) (serving seniors, children and adults with disabilities, and individuals who require LTSS).
  • Forty-one states reported at least one specified delivery system and payment reform initiative (e.g. Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), ACA Health Homes, Accountable Care Organization (ACO), Episode of Care Initiatives, All-Payer Claims Database (APCD)).

Health Equity

  • Twenty-five states reported using at least one specified strategy to improve race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data completeness. Of the 45 responding states, 16 states reported requiring MCOs and other applicable contractors to collect REL data, 12 states reported that eligibility, renewal materials, and/or applications explain how REL data will be used and/or why reporting these data are important, nine states reported linking Medicaid enrollment data with public health department vital records data, and eight states reported partnering with one or more health information exchanges (HIEs) to obtain additional REL data for Medicaid enrollees.
  • Twelve of 44 responding states reported at least one financial incentive tied to health equity in place in FY 2022. The vast majority of these incentives were in place in managed care arrangements (11 of 13). Within managed care arrangements, states most commonly reported linking or planning to link capitation withholds, pay for performance incentives, and/or state-directed provider payments to health equity-related quality measures. Only two states (Connecticut and Minnesota), reported a FFS financial incentive in FY 2022. Five additional states report plans to implement financial incentives linked to health equity in FY 2023.
  • Sixteen of 37 responding MCO states reported at least one specified health equity MCO requirement in place in FY 2022. The number of MCO states with at least one specified health equity MCO requirement in place is expected to grow significantly in FY 2023, from 16 to 25 states. Examples of MCO requirements to address health equity include having a health equity plan, designating a Health Equity Officer, and staff training on health equity and/or implicit bias.

Figure 3 – MCO Requirements to Address Health Equity, FYs 2022-23

SOURCE: KFF survey of Medicaid officials conducted by HMA, October 2022; n=37 states.

Benefits

  • Thirty-three states reported new or enhanced benefits in FY 2022 and 34 states are adding or enhancing benefits in FY 2023. Two states reported benefit cuts or limitations in FY 2022 and no states reported cuts or limitations in FY 2023.

Figure 4 – Select Categories of Benefit Enhancements or Additions, FYs 2022-23

SOURCE: KFF survey of Medicaid officials conducted by HMA, October 2022; Arkansas and Georgia did not respond.

  • Behavioral Health Services. States reported service expansions across the behavioral health care continuum, including institutional, intensive, outpatient, home and community-based, and crisis services. States reported addressing SUD outcomes, including coverage of opioid treatment programs, peer supports, and enhanced care management. At least ten states are expanding coverage of crisis services, which aim to connect Medicaid enrollees experiencing behavioral health crises to appropriate community-based care, including mobile crisis response services and crisis stabilization centers.
  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Services. In April 2022, a temporary option under ARPA to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months took effect. In addition to the states that took advantage of this eligibility change, some states are enhancing coverage of pregnancy and post-partum services. Nine states (California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Virginia) are adding coverage of services provided by doulas and seven states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont) are investing in the implementation or expansion of home visiting programs.
  • Preventive Services. Sixteen states reported expansions of preventive care in FY 2022 or FY 2023. For example, seven states are expanding services to prevent and/or manage diabetes, such as continuous glucose monitoring. Other reported preventive benefit enhancements relate to asthma services, vaccinations, and genetic testing and/or counseling.
  • Services Targeting Social Determinants of Health. Many states reported new and expanded benefits targeting social determinants of health. Twelve states reported new or expanded housing-related supports, as well as other services and programs tailored for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of being homeless.
  • Dental Services. Nine states are adding comprehensive adult dental coverage, while additional states report expanding specific dental services for adults.

Telehealth

  • Most states have or plan to adopt permanent Medicaid FFS telehealth expansions that will remain in place even after the pandemic, though some are considering guardrails on such policies. Nearly all responding states that contract MCOs reported that changes to FFS telehealth policies would also apply to MCOs.

Figure 5 – Changes to FFS Medicaid Telehealth Policy, FY 2022 or FY 2023

SOURCE: KFF survey of Medicaid officials conducted by HMA, October 2022; n=48 states.

  • Nearly all responding states added or expanded audio-only telehealth coverage in Medicaid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-eight states reported that they newly added audio-only coverage while 19 states expanded existing coverage. Nearly all states reported audio-only coverage of mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services. States least frequently reported audio-only coverage of home and community-based services (HCBS) and dental services. Two states (Mississippi and Wyoming) reported no coverage of audio-only telehealth for the services in question.
  • Telehealth utilization by Medicaid enrollees has been high during the pandemic but has decreased and/or leveled off more recently. States noted that telehealth utilization trends over time correspond to COVID-19 outbreaks, with higher utilization during COVID-19 surges and lower utilization when case counts are lower. In general, states reported that telehealth utilization was projected to continue at higher levels than before the pandemic, at least for some service categories.
  • Thirty-seven states (out of 47 responding) reported that behavioral health services were among those with the highest utilization. Additionally, a majority of states reported high utilization of evaluation and management (E/M) services and/or other physician/qualified health care professional office/outpatient services, including primary care.
  • States reported ACA expansion adults as one of the groups most likely to use telehealth (about one-third of responding states), followed by children and individuals with disabilities (each identified by about one-sixth of responding states).
  • Concerns regarding services delivered via telehealth included the quality of diagnoses, whether audio-only telehealth may be less effective, and inadequate access.
  • Key issues that may influence future Medicaid telehealth policy decisions include analysis of data, state legislation and federal guidance, and cost concerns.

Provider Rates and Taxes

  • In FY 2022, all 49 responding states reported implementing rate increases for at least one category of provider and 19 states reported implementing rate restrictions. In FY 2023, 48 states reported at least one planned rate increase and the number of states planning to restrict rates increased to 25 states.
  • States reported rate increases for nursing facilities and home and community-based services (HCBS) providers more often than other provider categories. The survey also found an increased focus on dental rates with about half of reporting states (20 in FY 2022 and 25 in FY 2023) reporting implementing or plans to implement a dental rate increase

Figure 6 – FFS Provider Rate Changes Implemented in FY 2022 and Adopted for FY 2023

SOURCE: KFF survey of Medicaid officials in 50 states and DC conducted by HMA, October 2022.

  • States continue to rely on provider taxes and fees to fund a portion of the non-federal share of Medicaid costs. All states but Alaska have at least one provider tax or fee in place. Thirty-eight states had three or more provider taxes in place in FY 2022 and eight other states had two provider taxes in place.
  • The most common Medicaid provider taxes in place in FY 2022 were taxes on nursing facilities (46 states), followed by taxes on hospitals (44 states), intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (33 states), and MCOs (18 states).
  • Three states (Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming) reported plans to add new ambulance taxes in FY 2023.

Pharmacy

  • Most states that contract with MCOs report that the pharmacy benefit is carved into managed care (34 out of 41 states that contract with MCOs). Six states (California, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and West Virginia) report that pharmacy benefits are carved out of MCO contracts as of July 1, 2022. California was the latest to carve out pharmacy benefits as of January 1, 2022. Two states (New York and Ohio) report plans to carve out pharmacy from MCO contracts in state FY 2023 or later.
  • In FY 2022, Kentucky began contracting with a single PBM for the managed care population. Louisiana and Mississippi report that they will require MCOs to contract with a single PBM designated by the state in FY 2023 and FY 2024, respectively.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington) have value-based arrangements (VBAs) in place with one or more drug manufacturers.
  • More than half of responding states reported newly implementing or expanding at least one initiative to contain prescription drug costs in FY 2022 or FY 2023.
  • Six states (Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada) reported recently implemented or planned policies to prohibit spread pricing or require pass through pricing in MCO contracts with PBMs.

Key Opportunities, Challenges, and Priorities in FY 2023 and Beyond

When asked to identify the top challenges for FY 2023 and beyond, Medicaid directors listed the following:

  • The unwinding of PHE emergency measures and the resumption of redeterminations.
  • Expiration of emergency authorities.
  • Lasting focus on COVID-19, including vaccinations, long-COVID, decreased utilization of preventive care services, and future emergency preparedness.

Medicaid directors stated that future priorities shaped by COVID-19 include:

  • Health equity.
  • Specific populations and service categories, including behavioral health, long-term services and supports, and maternal and child health.
  • Health care workforce challenges.
  • Payment and delivery system initiatives and operations.
  • IT system modernization.
  • Social determinants of health.

Medicaid directors note that COVID-19 has presented both new opportunities and challenges and has also shifted and shaped ongoing Medicaid priorities.

Links to Kaiser/HMA 50-State Survey Reports