This month, Mathematica joined more than 1,300 public servants, Medicaid advocates, and program members at the 2023 annual National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) conference in Washington, DC. Although Medicaid eligibility and enrollment challenges during the COVID pandemic unwinding period were a main focus, this year’s conference also held up as exemplars the wide range of state efforts to improve community supports for individuals with disabilities, Medicaid’s role in behavioral health crisis management and recovery, and our collective goals to improve maternal and infant health nationwide.
Our team was especially impressed by NAMD’s deliberate efforts to elevate the voices of Medicaid members throughout the conference. Under the leadership of NAMD Executive Director Kate McEvoy and Cindy Beane, commissioner for medical services in West Virginia and NAMD board chair, Medicaid members, local providers, and community advocates were given equal time alongside senior state and federal officials. For example, a panel of youth advocates convened by Young Invincibles cited Medicaid as a cornerstone of health access, while also highlighting opportunities to partner with youth beneficiaries by seeking their input in school settings to identify potential program improvements. As states seek to expand school-based services with new support from the Center for Medicaid & CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Services (CMCS), they may think about this venue as offering an opportunity to provide both accessible care and accessible feedback loops.
Common threads throughout the conference sessions included:
- The increasing complexity of the data systems and processes states use to manage the web of social programs jointly funded by federal and state agencies.
- The increasing dependence public servants have on data collection and reporting systems.
- The novel opportunities for program improvement public servants are beginning to realize with those systems.
Mathematica is mission-aligned with NAMD to bring equity from theory into practice. We proudly sponsored this year’s NAMD 2023 fall conference and appreciate our partnerships with states and federal stakeholders in the Medicaid program. Mathematica was honored to see our federal clients highlight many of the data products we have created in partnership with CMCS as key tools for monitoring access to coverage and care and other aspects of the Medicaid program.
Overall, the three-day convening showcased state and federal partners that are rising to the challenges facing Medicaid and looking ahead with ambitious goals to tackle longstanding health disparities. Armed with data sources richer and more interconnected than ever, as well as a commitment to elevate lived experience in program design and implementation, leaders are poised to make transformative changes. We look forward to being part of these changes and contributing to more equitable health outcomes, supporting our partners as they move from strategic goal setting to practical engagement at the community level with those who contribute to, and benefit from, the Medicaid program.