Medicaid Works: States Are Using Flexibility to Create Innovative, Successful Programs

Last week, we explained that one of the reasons Medicaid is so effective is that states have the flexibility to design programs that work for their communities. This week, we’re digging deeper into how states are using their flexibility under Medicaid to streamline health care delivery and improve health.

As CBPP senior policy analyst Hannah Katch writes, states are using Medicaid’s flexibility to coordinate physical and behavioral health care services as well as social services. They’re also moving to integrate services for their most vulnerable beneficiaries by improving communication and data sharing across health care providers and systems to provide effective health services in a timely way. These efforts are improving health outcomes and making Medicaid more efficient by bridging the gap between health care and other services, such as housing assistance.

For example:

  • Missouri has established “health homes” that coordinate care for beneficiaries with chronic physical health conditions or a diagnosed serious mental illness. Early data from the program show a significant drop in emergency department visits and preventable hospitalizations.
  • A Wisconsin hospital is testing a new way to integrate health services for children with complex medical needs, a rapidly growing group with high health care costs. Participants are significantly more likely to report that their health needs are being met. You can read about how other states are innovating Medicaid to great success here.

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