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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about stricter requirements for supplemental Medicaid payments, hospitals pledging funds to support affordable housing, a food prescription program, Medicaid and CHIP data, and technological upgrades at the Veterans Administration. 

1. CMS pitches ramped up oversight of Medicaid payments, promises block grant guidance 

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed stricter requirements for reporting supplemental Medicaid payments. According to Healthcare Dive, the change is anticipated to reduce spending and increase transparency. CMS also plans to release guidance on alternative funding approaches, such as Medicaid block grants, and how states can encourage providers toward value-based payments.

2. Why hospitals want to invest in affordable housing 

More hospitals are funding projects to increase patient access to affordable housing. Curbed reports that 14 of the largest hospitals and health systems recently pledged to invest $700 million over the next five years, with the majority of the funding going toward affordable housing. The trend reflects a growing realization of the impact social determinants have on the health of individuals and communities.

3. Prescribing vegetables? Partnership looks to improve patient health by prescribing healthy foods 

A new partnership between healthcare providers and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank means residents can access more fresh produce. According to the Columbus Dispatch, providers give food prescription cards to patients with food insecurity, which then allows them weekly visits to area food pantries. Providers can review how often their patients use the prescription and compare that to health indicators to see results.

4. CMS releases research-ready Medicaid and CHIP databases 

For the first time, CMS is releasing research-ready datasets from the Transformed Medical Statistical Information System. Health Data Management reports the datasets, which include demographics, eligibility, service use, and payment records should be easier to use than the raw data and will help researchers better analyze the cost of Medicaid and CHIP to both the federal government and states.

5. VA’s pivot to agile 

The Veterans Administration (VA) used an agile methodology in order to meet a looming deadline. FCW reports that Jim Gfrerer, CIO, credits adherence to that methodology with their ability to successfully launch the first version of the Decision Support Tool on time. The tool compiles data from multiple VA systems to determine whether veterans qualify for community care under new legislation. The VA also recently launched the first phase of a caregiver program and plans to increase tracking of opioid prescriptions as part of a drug monitoring program.