post Using Medicaid Levers to Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Disparities: Q&A with Louisiana’s Medicaid Director Jen Steele

Since Louisiana expanded Medicaid in 2016, an additional 502,647 newly eligible adults enrolled in the state’s health care program for low-income residents. In Louisiana, a state that has historically faced challenges related to overall health status and health disparities, this expansion of coverage opens new doors for improving health outcomes. Medicaid covers nearly a third… Read more »

March 2019
post Connecting Physical and Oral Health Care in Louisiana

Primary care professionals are generally the first point of contact in the health care system and are often underutilized as a source of basic oral health services to their patients. Fluoride varnish application, one of these services, is an evidence-based approach to preventing and controlling tooth decay in children. In Louisiana, Brandon Bueche, Medicaid Dental… Read more »

December 2018
post Reducing Dental Opioid Prescribing in Oregon: A Conversation with Oral Health Leaders

With the United States in the grip of an opioid epidemic, public health care leaders are seeking innovative solutions to address the crisis. Educating dental providers is one way that states can help reduce unnecessary opioid prescribing. At the Oregon Health Authority, Statewide Dental Director Bruce Austin, DMD and Dental Program Manager Kellie Skenandore have… Read more »

December 2018
post Combatting Opioid Misuse in Tennessee and West Virginia: A Conversation with Two State Medicaid Directors

The opioid epidemic is a national public health crisis, with more than 115 Americans dying daily from opioid-related overdoses. As the country’s largest health insurer, Medicaid is uniquely positioned to lead innovative strategies targeted at reversing this horrific trend. Wendy Long, MD, TennCare Director and Deputy Commissioner, and Cynthia Beane, MSW, LCSW, Commissioner of the… Read more »

June 2018
post Building a Medicaid Framework to Promote Healthy Behaviors: An Interview with Steve Fitton

Medicaid programs are increasingly interested in strategies for engaging consumers, including the use of financial incentives to promote healthy behaviors. Steve Fitton, former Medicaid director from Michigan and current Principal at Health Management Associates, ushered in Michigan’s Medicaid expansion, Healthy Michigan, along with a financial incentive program to encourage such behaviors. Michigan is one of… Read more »

February 2018
post Developing Capacity for Cross-Sector Collaboration in Medicaid: An Interview with Elena Nicolella

Elena Nicolella, executive director of the New England States Consortium Systems Organization (NESCSO), knows first-hand the importance of eliminating silos in achieving population health goals. As Rhode Island’s Medicaid Director from 2009-2013 and director of policy innovation for Rhode Island’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services from 2014-2016, she oversaw numerous efforts that hinged… Read more »

October 2017
post Putting Medicaid Capacity Building into Action

State Medicaid agencies play a central role in translating policy changes into action. Policymakers and state Medicaid directors recognize the need to invest in human capital and support agency staff in navigating the changing health policy landscape. However, once initial investments in staff capacity building are made, how best to apply newly developed leadership skills… Read more »

August 2017
post Championing Behavioral Health Integration through Medicaid Leadership: A Conversation with Arizona’s Medicaid Director Tom Betlach

Tom Betlach, one of the country’s longest-serving Medicaid directors, has been at the helm of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System since 2009. Under his guidance, the state has become a national leader in key areas, including physical and behavioral health integration, aligning services for dual eligible populations, and improving the delivery and efficiency… Read more »

July 2017
post DHCS Academy: First-in-the-Nation Experiment is a Big Success Story

Inside Sacramento’s historic library building, 30 managers from California’s Department of Health Care Services are working in small groups to resolve a thorny issue: how to structure value-based payments to providers that result in better health outcomes for people with complex needs. This is DHCS Academy, the first program of its kind in the nation,… Read more »

January 2017
post A Look at CHCS Medicaid Academies: Featuring Vermont

The Medicaid program remains the largest health insurer in most states and the one most responsible for our citizens with complex clinical and social needs. Unlike the leadership of most large companies, state Medicaid directors and their top staff get very little support for leadership training and organizational capacity building. As a partial response, the… Read more »

November 2016