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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about multi-state Medicaid data, a decrease in opioid overdose deaths, how the Department of Veterans Affairs is measuring digital transformation success, efforts to improve child support collection, and the fastest-growing industries for job seekers.

1. States identify top Medicaid policy areas for future multi-state data analysis 

States recently distinguished four major policy areas that would be valuable to have Medicaid data analysis on across multiple states, according to AcademyHealth. The areas include substance abuse disorders, behavioral health integration, maternal mortality, and social determinants of health.

2. Opioid overdose mortality decreased 6% in Medicaid expansion states 

Drug overdoses, a major public health concern, cause more than 70,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. Recent research found states that expanded Medicaid showed a 6% decrease in deaths due to opioid overdoses. Health Payer Intelligence reports these states also showed a decrease in fatal overdoses from heroin (11%) and synthetic opioids (10%). Researchers suggest that increased access to substance abuse services may have influenced the decline.

3. The VA is developing new metrics for measuring its digital transformation 

The Department of Veterans Affairs is creating a balanced scorecard to measure its progress on digital transformation. According to FedScoop, the new metrics will help track IT action on electronic health record modernization, medical logistics supply, human resources, and financial management systems. The agency expects the scorecard will help the VA determine what elements are most successful and when to change course.

4. Senate introduces child support bills to further strengthen the program, with NCSEA’s support 

The Senate introduced two bills aimed at providing additional collection tools for child support agencies. According to NCSEA, both the Increasing Opportunity for Former Foster Youth Act and the Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act would expand access to tools used to identify and locate individuals who owe child support. 

5. 20 industries hiring the most workers in 2020 that all job seekers should consider  

Business Insider ran the numbers and identified 20 growing industries you might want to consider. Several are in healthcare, where the need for employees and demand for services is expected to increase as the population ages. Their top five picks include home healthcare services, individual and family services, residential health and substance abuse facilities, assisted living facilities, and taxi drivers.