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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about employment training for Medicaid recipients, how people with disabilities disproportionally suffer underemployment, aging populations on the rise in rural areas, private sector marketing tips for public sector challenges, and CMS plans to combat Medicare fraud and abuse.

1. States try a gentler approach to getting Medicaid enrollees to work 

States are experimenting with ways to increase workforce participation among Medicaid participants without implementing work requirements. According to Kaiser Health News, several states have begun connecting individuals directly to employment services or specialized training. Montana’s voluntary program helped lead to a 6% increase in employment among the Medicaid-expansion population between 2016 and 2018.

2. Why underemployment plagues people with disabilities even in a strong economy 

People with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed or work part-time than the average adult. In this Forbes blog post, the author argues that underemployment is caused by institutionalized discrimination, fear of an employee being the ‘wrong fit,’ lack of support, and concern over requesting accommodations. 

3. Older generation increasing disproportionately in rural communities, report shows 

A recent report from the Census Bureau showed that the 65-and older population is steadily growing in rural areas, while it is mostly stable in more populated locations. Go Dan River reports that 20% of the population in rural Pittsylvania County are senior citizens, as compared to 14% in Virginia overall. This has caused an increase in use of emergency services, a lack of employees to fill skilled nursing positions, and concern about the impact of an aging population.

4. 5 public sector marketing moves for better citizen engagement 

In this blog post, published by MarTech Advisors, the author lays out strategies used by the private sector that could be adopted by the public sector to increase citizen engagement. They include meeting citizens where they are (omnichannel marketing), creating buyer personas, optimizing websites for search engines, using multiple digital tools, measuring results, trial and error testing, and striving for constant improvement. 

5. CMS adopts 5-part strategy to address Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a new strategy to help combat fraud, waste, and abuse within the Medicare program. Health Leaders Media reports the strategy includes identifying and taking action against people and organizations defrauding Medicare, preventing fraudulent activities from reoccurring, adding safeguards to the reimbursement process, reducing the administrative burden on providers, and using new technologies.