Friday Five: States focus on improving the health and employment rates of Medicaid recipients

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June 22, 2018
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about different approaches to treating opioid addiction, the status of Medicaid waivers, Montana’s voluntary workforce program, and the shift towards accountable care organizations.

1. The Health 202: Congress tackles Medicaid rule in effort to dent opioid crisis

Multiple bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis are currently making their way through the House. According to the Washington Post, one of the more significant bills would lift a prohibition on using Medicaid funds for inpatient treatment centers above a certain size. Democrats are concerned that the bill is racially biased, because it would limit the exclusion solely to opioid addiction treatment (which has been more prevalent in the white population), rather than applying to all forms of substance abuse.

2. The limits to Trump’s Medicaid freedom for states

The Trump administration has approved state Medicaid waivers, particularly those focused on work and income requirements, that were previously denied by the Obama administration. However, as this article in Governing outlines, not all waivers have been approved. Waivers that included lifetime limits have been declined, while versions that want to add drug testing and work requirements for non-expansion states are still pending.

3. Using artificial intelligence to treat addiction

In this blog post featured on Inside Big Data, the author discusses how artificial intelligence is being used to treat drug addiction by helping individuals find, track, and start treatment; predict the risk of relapse; and find support and positive influences.

4. Report: Voluntary workforce program helps Medicaid expansion enrollees get jobs

Montana offers a voluntary job services program for unemployed individuals who received health care coverage when the state expanded Medicaid. According to the Helena Independent Record, the program helped more than 75% of participants get jobs and also resulted in increased wages. More than 80% of families affected by Medicaid expansion in Montana have at least one employed adult.

5. Medicaid: As costs soar, states try a new approach

States are testing a value-based payment system for Medicaid, which ties rewards and reimbursements to keeping enrollees healthy, rather than strictly reimbursing for services rendered. This US News and World Report article focuses on the trend towards this approach by states such as Minnesota.