Hilltop Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley, MA, helped organize and participated on a panel titled Tobacco Costs: Present and Future Measurements and Effects at the 2019 Fall Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) held in Denver, Colorado November 7-9, 2019. In his presentation, Betley talked about how policy studies are judged, based on both policymakers’ interests and researchers’ scientific directive. He then discussed the innovative methodology of the study: the use of state Medicaid claims data to estimate the costs of tobacco use to a state Medicaid program. Findings gleaned by this methodology are more timely and accurate than the use of national estimates alone.

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As states have embraced additional flexibility to change coverage of and payment for Medicaid services, they have also faced heightened expectations for delivering high-value care. Efforts to meet these new expectations have increased the need for rigorous, evidence-based policy, but states may face challenges finding the resources, capacity, and expertise to meet this need. By describing state-university partnerships in more than 20 states, this commentary describes innovative solutions for states that want to leverage their own data, build their analytic capacity, and create evidence-based policy. From an integrated web-based system to improve long-term care to evaluating the impact of permanent supportive housing placements on Medicaid utilization and spending, these state partnerships provide significant support to their state Medicaid programs. In 2017, these partnerships came together to create a distributed research network that supports multi-state analyses. The Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network (MODRN) uses a common data model to examine Medicaid data across states, thereby increasing the analytic rigor of policy evaluations in Medicaid, and contributing to the development of a fully functioning Medicaid innovation laboratory. Hilltop Executive Director Cynthia Woodcock and Senior Policy Analyst Shamis Mohamoud contributed to this article published in eGEMs.

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Hilltop staff presented at the 2019 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM). Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley, MA, presented this poster at both the State Health Policy Interest Group Meeting on June 1 and the ARM on June 3. This poster summarizes the work Betley led to analyze Mississippi Medicaid claims data and quantify the financial impact of tobacco use on Mississippi’s Medicaid program.

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This report describes the services The Hilltop Institute provided to the Maryland Department of Health (the Department) under the Master Agreement between Hilltop and the Department. The report covers fiscal year (FY) 2018 (July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018). Hilltop’s interdisciplinary staff provided a wide range of services, including: Medicaid program development and policy analysis; HealthChoice program support, evaluation, and financial analysis; long-term services and supports program development, policy analysis, and financial analytics; and data management and web-accessible database development.

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This report presents to the Center for Mississippi Health Policy the results of a model for estimating tobacco-related costs for Mississippi Medicaid participants using administrative claims data for calendar years (CYs) 2016 and 2017. Tobacco-related costs were estimated to be $388 million in 2016 and $396 million in 2017. This report describes the various methods that were used to develop these cost estimates.

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Hilltop staff presented at the 2018 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM) in Seattle in June. Senior Policy Analyst Shamis Mohamoud, MA, gave this podium presentation, which provided an overview of Hilltop’s evaluation of the Maryland Health Home Program.

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The Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, established by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, recommends that the Maryland Department of Health review Maryland Medicaid rates for substance use disorder (SUD) services every three years. This chart book reviews SUD services provided by the Maryland Medicaid program from CY 2012 to CY 2016 and compares the rates with those of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

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On March 29, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs; Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008; the Application of Mental Health Parity Requirements to Coverage Offered by Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Alternative Benefit Plans (ABPs) (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-30/pdf/2016-06876.pdf). This rule provides new requirements for Medicaid and CHIP compliance with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Final MHPAEA regulations for group health insurance plans were issued in 2013. Much of this final rule extends the MHPAEA requirements for group health plans to Medicaid MCOs, CHIP, and ABPs, with exceptions and changes as applicable to address the unique aspects of state Medicaid mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) delivery systems. This document provides a high-level summary of the rule and highlights the changes to the proposed rule.

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Alcohol misuse has been identified as a major public health problem in the United States. However, although not yet widely adopted, alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) in the primary care setting has been shown to reduce problematic alcohol consumption.

In order to facilitate SBI for alcohol misuse, Research Circle Associates (RCA), a Maryland-based research firm, obtained a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to develop a computerized SBI for use in the primary care setting. The Interventionaire© is a software system used to create and administer patient-based behavioral screening questionnaires and provide normative feedback to patients immediately upon completion of the questionnaire. Following successful proof-of-concept work in Phase I of the STTR, RCA contracted with The Hilltop Institute to conduct a qualitative analysis to address one specific aim of a larger Phase II implementation study: identify staff-perceived barriers to implementing the Interventionaire© in the primary care setting.

This report not only identifies staff-perceived barriers to implementing a computerized alcohol SBI tool in a primary care setting, but also identifies potential facilitators and explores anticipated advantages and disadvantages to implementation.

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At the request of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), The Hilltop Institute conducted a series of analyses on the health care utilization of Maryland’s full-benefit Medicare-Medicaid dual-eligible beneficiaries. Together, these analyses provide an overview of how this population accesses health care services, the types of services being used, and where the services are provided.

This report examines full-benefit dual-eligible beneficiaries with mental health conditions in Maryland during calendar year (CY) 2012, including number and type of mental health conditions; demographics and county of residence; emergency department use; and Medicare and Medicaid expenditures and service days.

Related publications: Maryland Full-Benefit Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries’ Use of Medicare and Medicaid Services Preceding and Following a Medicare Inpatient Stay, Characteristics of Maryland Full-Benefit Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries with Three or More Inpatient Stays, and The Maryland Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries Chart Book.

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