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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about Medicaid expansion’s effect on mortality rates, the benefits of RPA, a proposed change to SNAP eligibility, grants to help address the rural healthcare provider shortage, and a bipartisan bill aimed at helping states address social determinants of health.

1. Medicaid coverage cuts mortality rates among low-income adults aged 55 to 64 

Modern Healthcare reports on a recent study that found a 0.13 percentage decline in annual mortality for individuals aged 55-64 who received coverage due to Medicaid expansion. Researchers estimate more than 15,000 preventable deaths in a 4-year period if all states had expanded Medicaid. The study follows on the heels of other research showing the benefits of expansion, including shoring up community health centers, improving health, reducing maternal mortality rates, and increasing access to care.

2. How is robotic process automation assisting businesses in scaling operations?

Adding robotic process automation (RPA) to your organization? In this blog post, published by Inc42, the author lays out the benefits of doing so. He argues that RPA can help you optimize resources, be more adaptable, improve communication and employee satisfaction, reduce errors, and help secure your data.

3. Feds propose change to food stamps laws that would tighten eligibility 

Earlier this week, the government announced a proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to 11 Alive, states can currently auto-enroll individuals into SNAP if they are already participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. The proposal would limit SNAP/TANF automatic eligibility and would require families to receive TANF benefits for at least 6 months and limit the non-cash benefits that could count toward eligibility. An estimated 3.1 million people would be affected by the change. 

4. HHS funding new rural workforce programs to the tune of $20M 

As part of an effort to increase the number of healthcare providers in rural areas, the Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded $20 million in grants to organizations in 21 states. Healthcare IT News reports the grants will be used to create new residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, and psychiatry. Studies have shown that healthcare providers who train in rural areas are more likely to remain in those locations.

5. Bipartisan members of Congress seek to address social determinants of health with new bill  

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced the Social Determinants Accelerator Act. According to a press release from the Alliance for Health, published on Medindia, the Act would provide grants and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal governments working to develop strategies to address social determinants of health.