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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about new guidance on opioid use tracking, the rising need for direct care workers, issues with addressing social determinants of health in children, and the importance of taking a holistic approach to government IT. 

1. CMS gives states, managed-care organizations guidance on tracking Medicaid opioid use 

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new guidance for how states should track opioid use within their Medicaid populations. According to Modern Healthcare, states have until the end of 2019 to outline state plan amendments that include monitoring patients for substance abuse and limiting opioid prescriptions and refills. States will also need to create a plan for managing antipsychotic prescriptions in children.

2. Waiver allows added federal support for Delaware Medicaid patients with substance abuse disorder 

The federal government recently approved Delaware’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver. The waiver, as reported by Delaware Public Media, will allow the state to receive federal rebates for patients with substance abuse issues making treatment services more accessible. Delaware is the 25th state to receive this type of waiver for substance abuse treatment. 

3. State of mind: Direct care mental health workers face staffing crisis 

Like many states, Michigan is struggling to fill direct care positions due to low pay, high responsibility, and long hours. According to WWMT, starting pay for mental health direct care workers is $10.70/hour, average staff turnover is 37%, and the average number of open positions for full-time staff is 12%. Though the need for direct care workers is anticipated to rise, some organizations have had to cut back on services.

4. Patient trust, relationships key in pediatric SDOH screenings 

A recent report found that parents of pediatric patients have reservations about discussing social determinants of health with healthcare providers. As Patient Engagement HIT reports, comprehensive screenings are vital for children, but parents have concerns about being judged or reported to child protective services. The report recommends that providers work to build strong relationships and emphasize the importance of the screenings. 

5. Building for the future of government when IT modernization isn’t just a technology upgrade

In a blog post published by NextGov, Raj Parameswaran, President of MAXIMUS Federal Information Technology, contends that technology and modernization projects should be implemented as part of a holistic approach. Parameswaran recommends bringing in the right domain expertise, defining the problem, applying proven technology, engaging staff, and determining how modernization will improve the citizen experience and help achieve the larger organizational mission.