School of Public Health to serve as statewide evaluator of Medicaid waiver program

Texas Health and Human Services seeks expertise of school for a second time, awarding $5 million dollars for evaluation
November 21, 2019

The renewal of the Texas 1115 Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program Waiver (1115 waiver) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has led the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to once again seek the expertise of the Texas A&M School of Public Health to serve as statewide evaluator. HHSC has awarded the School of Public Health in excess of $5 million dollars to evaluate the 1115 waiver program through 2023.

Hye-Chung Kum, PhD, and Robert Ohsfeldt, PhD, of the Population Informatics Lab in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health, led the first evaluation of the waiver program from 2011–2016. They will be joined by David Washburn, PhD, a School of Public Health expert in underserved populations and global health, and Eva Shipp, PhD, of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, to lead this newly-funded evaluation of the renewed waiver program.

“Through the Medicaid waiver program, Texas, as large, unique, and diverse as it is, has implemented a great variety of different population health initiatives. This is an excellent opportunity for our faculty and students to engage in a critical and comprehensive evaluation of the impact of those many programs,” Washburn said.

The Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program Demonstration Waiver aims to improve access to health care, increase the quality of care, and reduce costs of care in three ways: by expanding Medicaid managed care, revising the uncompensated care system, and creating a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

The research team will focus on how different components of the 1115 waiver project impact the three dimensions of health care—access, quality and cost—on the Medicaid and low-income uninsured population in Texas. The evaluation will conduct analyses of a variety of health-related databases, develop and conduct surveys, including a social network analysis component, with DSRIP providers and managed care organizations. The evaluation will provide opportunities for students to learn about population health, data science, stakeholder engagement and evaluation research as research assistants and faculty discuss examples in their classes. At the conclusion, stakeholder workshops will be held to discuss the project findings.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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