For more than 50 years, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have played essential roles in our nation’s health care system, now providing health coverage for more than 85 million individuals across the U.S., including one in three children, more than half of all births in some states, and nearly two-thirds of nursing home residents.

Medicaid staff and their state agency partners are responsible for continuously fine-tuning operations, financing, and care delivery models to realize more equitable, efficient, and effective health care for enrollees. To address the array of needs of Medicaid enrollees, it is also critical for Medicaid staff to bridge agency silos and forge partnerships with colleagues from mental health, criminal justice, child welfare, and other social services agencies. State agencies can support staff in better managing the rapidly evolving health policy landscape, achieve agency goals, and foster cross-sector partnerships by investing in leadership training and professional development opportunities for staff.

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) developed the Medicaid Academies to provide policy and leadership training for senior Medicaid staff as well as colleagues across partnering state and county agencies. The Academies are a unique opportunity to build the leadership and change management capacity of state Medicaid staff and their key government partners. The curriculum addresses both policy and operational priorities, combining a state-specific emphasis with an exploration of best practices from across the country.

For nearly a decade, CHCS has partnered with states to design and implement a tailored Academy experience. Current academies include:

  • Colorado Medicaid Academy, which launched in August 2021 through support from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (DHCPF), equips managers and key staff with the skills needed to lead DHCPF through the complex task of effectively administering the state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs.
  • DHCS Academy, originally supported by the California Health Care Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, and Blue Shield of California Foundation, provides comprehensive training for managers and supervisors in California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
  • New Hampshire Health and Human Services Academy, made possible by the New England States Consortium Systems Organization (NESCSO), provides leadership and professional development training focused on supporting state staff as they adopt a value-based payment approach across the state program.
  • Vermont Agency of Human Services Leadership Academy, which launched in December 2016 through support from NESCSO and the Agency of Human Services, focuses on fostering cross-agency partnerships and professional development to achieve the state’s Agency of One goals.

CHCS has also led academies in Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

For each Academy, CHCS develops the curriculum in alignment with state policy priorities, provides expert facilitation, and fosters cross-agency relationships with a focus on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of publicly financed care. The Academies typically enroll 25-35 staff from Medicaid and other partnering agencies to participate in a multi-month cohort of intensive, hands-on training. As part of the training sessions, participants develop leadership projects, individually and in teams, to apply newfound policy knowledge to address current state challenges.

Learn About Opportunities for Your State

The leadership and technical abilities of Medicaid leaders and their government partners are key to achieving Medicaid’s potential. Developing the practical skills needed for staff to think critically in highly complex situations and be successful change agents is essential. Investment in state leaders supports their success and maximizes opportunities to transform care delivery for enrollees while balancing federal and state priorities around fiscal stewardship, quality assurance, and program integrity.

Interested in learning about training options for state program leaders? Contact Lauren Moran, Associate Director of Leadership and Capacity Building at CHCS.