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HMA Experts Contribute to Report on Health Disparities in Minnesota’s Medicaid Population

Editors Note: This post was authored by HMA Principal Ellen Breslin, MPP. 

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) recently submitted a report to the Minnesota Legislature, called Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Minnesota Health Care Program Payments. This report represents a multi-year effort on the part of DHS, and a real step forward in moving from social risk as a concept to a quantifiable methodology to explain its impact on health. The report delivers DHS recommendations to reduce health disparities among Medicaid and other DHS program participants.

The report also shows results and progress toward the legislative direction to reduce stark differences in health outcomes among the state’s various populations. The report can be found here: https://edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Public/DHS-7834-ENG.

Under the direction of Dr. Justine Nelson, PhD, of DHS, the team included Ellen Breslin, MPP and Dr. Anissa Lambertino, PhD from HMA, partner colleague Dennis Heaphy, MPH, of the Disability Policy Consortium, and consultant Tony Dreyfus, MCP.

The team conducted a comprehensive, ground-breaking quantitative analysis of the relationship between Medicaid enrollees’ social risk factors and health outcomes. The analysis includes a review of Medicaid enrollees’ mortality, the prevalence of physical chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes), the prevalence of behavioral health conditions (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder), and whether enrollees received recommended preventive healthcare over the course of a year.

HMA found that Medicaid enrollees with substance use disorders, serious persistent mental illness, deep poverty, homelessness, previous incarcerations and child protection involvement had significantly worse health outcomes than their fellow enrollees, even when controlling for beneficiary demographics, geography, and other social risk factors.

Dr. Lori Raney and Dr. Greg Vachon of HMA and Dr. Suzanne Mitchell, formerly of HMA, provided clinical input; Dan Gilden and JEN Associates helped build the Medicaid analytic files; and national experts, including Dr. Lisa Iezzoni and Dave Knutson contributed their expertise.

Get the Reports

HMA’s summary report can be found here.

Click here to access HMA’s technical white paper.

The summary report and technical white paper reflect the work that is introduced in an issue brief written by Breslin, Lambertino, Heaphy and Dreyfus, which focused on Minnesota’s approach to identify Medicaid populations with the greatest health disparities. The issue brief can be found here.

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