State Medicaid Programs to Share Learnings on Health-Related Social Needs

March 14, 2024
Nine states will participate in program designed to help them develop, implement, or refine health-related social need initiatives for Medicaid populations

State governments increasingly recognize that supporting food, housing, and transportation services is essential for advancing health equity among Medicaid populations. Nine states have been selected to participate in a learning consortium to focus on health-related social needs (HRSN) in their Medicaid programs. 

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), a policy design and implementation partner, has chosen California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington State, and Wisconsin to join the Medicaid Health-Related Social Needs Implementation Learning Series.

This program, made possible through support from Kaiser Permanente through its National Community Benefit Fund at The East Bay Community Foundation, will help states in developing, implementing, or refining HRSN initiatives for Medicaid populations.

The initiative comes at a time when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing new opportunities and guidance to encourage state Medicaid programs to respond to non-medical needs.

“States nationwide are rising to the challenge of addressing HRSN more efficiently to enhance health outcomes and promote health equity for people served by Medicaid,” said Allison Hamblin, President and CEO of CHCS, in a statement. “We are excited to collaborate with these nine state innovators to help them optimize new CMS options and Medicaid resources for addressing the full gamut of member needs.”

The 12-month learning series will facilitate collaborative, peer-to-peer learning among the nine state Medicaid agencies, with a focus on practical, on-the-ground implementation efforts, promoting health equity, and centering community member voice. Participating states will seek to strengthen HRSN strategies and programs, and work with Medicaid managed care organizations, health care systems, and community-based organizations.

“It’s exciting to see the diversity in perspectives each state can bring to this important series, and the shared commitment to achieving better health outcomes and furthering health equity for Medicaid members,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente, in a statement.

The state teams will participate in peer-to-peer information sharing and learning opportunities to advance HRSN and health equity policy and implementation goals. CHCS will provide technical assistance and training in partnership with HealthBegins and the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN). Throughout the initiative, CHCS will distill lessons from the states’ efforts, which will be shared broadly with stakeholders across the country. 

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