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Friday, July 25, 2014

New Medicaid Program Will Support State Efforts to Improve Quality and Delivery of Health Care

Caitlin Morris

Director of Affordability Initiatives

Early last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a new initiative designed to support state efforts to improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries and the care they receive.

As part of the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP), the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) will develop new resources for and provide technical assistance to states engaged in efforts to reform their Medicaid programs. The IAP seeks to achieve the triple aim of better care, better health outcomes, and lower costs.

Innovative payment and delivery reforms are rapidly changing the health care system in the United States. Medicaid is a key partner in this change, as it is the largest single source of health coverage in the United States—more than 1 in 5 Americans is covered by Medicaid at some point during the year. Medicaid is also the nation’s primary health insurance program for low-income individuals and persons with disabilities. 

Resources will draw on lessons learned

States have broad flexibility in designing their Medicaid programs, and many states have adopted payment and delivery reforms that hold promise for improving care and patient health.

How can the new IAP help? CMS seeks to identify, accelerate, and expand those innovations that are succeeding at driving higher quality, more coordinated care. It also seeks to ensure that these payment and delivery innovations in public programs and in the private market complement each other.

CMS will build on what it has heard from state partners to help advance innovation by developing carefully crafted resources and technical assistance that states can use to make great strides in Medicaid innovations.

Supporting Medicaid innovation through targeted technical assistance

In creating the program, CMS relied on input from states and the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), as well as findings from the National Governors Association (NGA) Health Care Sustainability Task Force. The government’s $100 million investment will support Medicaid innovation by making technical assistance available to states in four areas:

  1. Identification and advancement of new payment and care delivery models
  2. Data analysis to help target payment and delivery reforms and identify best practices
  3. Improved quality measurement and support for aligning quality measurement across different payers
  4. Best practice dissemination, state-to-state learning, and federal evaluation

IAP will complement existing payment and reform programs

The IAP initiative recognizes that payment and delivery reforms are well underway in many states and seeks to help advance these efforts with tools and resources specific to Medicaid. While the IAP is not a grant funding program, it is designed to complement existing federal payment and delivery reform grant programs like the State Innovation Model (SIM) Initiative. CMS will give priority to creating technical assistance projects that address an area of need, support an innovation or program that’s shown evidence of improving care, or address high cost or variations in care delivery.

What you can do to learn more about the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program and get involved:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the program and existing tools: CMS has created a new webpage on Medicaid.gov that will house this and other IAP information, as well as tools and resources as they become available: http://www.medicaid.gov/State-Resource-Center/Innovation-Accelerator-Program/Innovation-Accelerator-Program.html
  2. Get involved: In the coming weeks and months, CMS plans to hold webinars, meetings, and/or interactive sessions to gather input from states, consumers, and experts. Check the IAP website for more information.
  3. Provide feedback: Questions, comments, and concerns can be directed to the program’s dedicated email address: MedicaidIAP@cms.hhs.gov