Skip to main content

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about a potential increase in support to address social determinants of health, Tom Romeo’s interview about robotic process automation, CMS putting partial Medicaid expansion on pause, tactics to increase child enrollment in federal health insurance programs, and an estimated $8.4 billion price tag to address the opioid epidemic.

1. Bill proposes funding social determinants of health under Medicaid    

A bipartisan group has introduced a bill that would provide financial and logistical assistance to communities working to address social determinants of health (SDOH). Patient Engagement HIT reports that state or local governments would have to develop a Social Determinants Accelerator Plan, which would include selecting a group of high-needs individuals, selecting key health outcomes, and creating a plan for tracking and coordinating SDOH outcomes data.

2. Robotic process automation: A brave new world 

Tom Romeo, General Manager of MAXIMUS Federal, shared his expertise in robotic process automation (RPA) on the Federal Tech Talk podcast. Romeo spoke about leveraging RPA with federal clients, the benefits of RPA, and the importance of setting expectations and adapting to changes.

3. CMS will no longer approve full federal funding for partial Medicaid expansion   

Earlier this year, Utah received approval for partial Medicaid expansion, providing coverage for up to 100% of the poverty level, as opposed to 138% as required by the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare Dive reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has since reversed course, and now will not approve partial Medicaid expansions. This will affect Utah and multiple other states considering similar plans.  

4. A snapshot of state efforts to reach and enroll children for state Medicaid and CHIP programs 

Last year, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) dropped for the first time since 2007. Since then, states have adopted different tactics to increase enrollment. A blog published by the National Academy for State Health Policy details the tactics that include community partnerships, school-based outreach, social media, and other targeted initiatives. 

5. What has the opioid epidemic cost states? Billions, researchers say 

A recent study estimates the costs of the opioid epidemic to states as tens of billions of dollars. That cost includes a 4x increase of Medicaid spending on opioid use disorders. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the report focused not only on the increased medical costs, but also increased costs for criminal justice, child welfare, and special education.