In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about a decline in child enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP, how efforts to address social determinants of health improve costs and quality, the Mission Act’s impact on VA benefits, a dip in government IT funding and how a focus on employees helps customers.
The number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP declined in 2018 by more than 900,000. This Georgetown University Health Policy Institute report says the decline is unusual. Despite a strong economy, there is little evidence to suggest the majority of enrollees have obtained private insurance, rather than becoming uninsured. In addition to a snapshot of the data, the report offers strategies states can use to encourage the enrollment and retention of eligible children.
Health Payer Intelligence reports that social determinants of health contribute to more than 80% of health outcomes, even more than medical services. Efforts to address these needs are not only helping patients, but improving cost, quality and physician satisfaction. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 90% of physicians report wanting to work in a health system that addresses social needs as part of providing standard care.
This Thursday, a major shift in veterans benefits occurred. According to the Military Times, veterans who live more than 30 minutes from a VA clinic or who have waited more than 20 days for an appointment will now have the option to seek medical care from the broader community. Critics worry the change could cause the VA to lose patients and funding, although senior department officials say they don’t anticipate losses and believe the majority of veterans are satisfied with their care.
The first draft of the 2020 spending bill includes $35 million for the Technology Modernization Fund, according to Federal News Network. This is significantly lower than the $150 million the Trump administration had requested and follows a decrease in funding from $100 million in 2018 to $25 million in 2019. The subcommittee also proposed less funding for the IT Oversight and Reform Fund and the Federal Citizen Services Fund.
Federal agencies have found that improving the employee experience leads to a better customer experience. NextGov features the National Security Agency as an example: Janelle Romano, deputy chief of industry and academic engagement, discusses how finding the right mix of technology to ensure employees are comfortable with what they’re using and more productive, helps the agency meet customer needs more quickly.