Friday Five: Federal healthcare legislation may not pass this session, but states are making moves

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February 08, 2019
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about governors leading the charge on healthcare legislation, positive results from Medicaid expansion in Montana, job training grants, increased screening for social determinants of health, and how best to use artificial intelligence.

1. Governors set the agenda for health care

Health Affairs reports that governors are taking the lead on advancing healthcare within their respective states. Thirty-six governors were recently elected or re-elected and many plan to focus on healthcare priorities, such as expanding coverage, protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions, controlling costs, and addressing the opioid epidemic.

2. Medicaid expansion reduces barriers, improves health outcomes, enrollees say

Good news out of Montana, as Medicaid enrollees say they have improved access to medical care and better general health in a recent survey. According to Montana Public Radio, enrollees are also less likely to put off treatment or ration medication due to cost, and find it easier to access mental health and substance abuse treatment – a big deal in the state with the highest rate of suicides.

3. Governor’s workforce development program passes unanimously in committee

A proposed $22 million Fast Track Workforce Incentive grant, which would pay for up to four semesters of job training for “high-demand” industries, passed unanimously this week. According to the Columbia Missourian, targeted industries have not yet been selected. The House Workforce Development Committee is also discussing a separate bill that would make it easier to use apprenticeship programs to receive a professional license.

4. Screening for social problems

Screening for social determinants of health is on the rise, and new screening tools are making it easier to formalize the process, according to US News and World Report. As more providers and healthcare organizations recognize the need to screen patients for risk factors that impact health, the question now shifts to how to gather, store, and track that data and how to connect patients with the resources they need to address issues.

5. Ensuring the ROI of adding artificial intelligence

IFS World makes the argument that artificial intelligence can be helpful for contact centers. She recommends using AI to learn more about customer preferences, provide customized experiences, and improve efficiency. She also argues that AI shouldn’t be used to cut staff or costs, but instead to improve service and help simplify data.

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