For months, the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) and Mathematica have worked to prepare for the highly anticipated 2023 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference. Together, we sought to ensure that the 8,000+ professionals registered for the virtual conference had the opportunity to learn about high-priority and emerging issues in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
On May 1 and 2, conference attendees had access to four breakout sessions, enlightening poster exhibits, and program resources dedicated to Medicaid and CHIP, as well as a plenary session featuring remarks by CMCS Director Dan Tsai on the three key components of quality in Medicaid and CHIP: continuity of coverage, equitable and timely access to care, and quality improvement. Similar events on oral health, the national quality strategy, and rural health also addressed the synergies with Medicaid and CHIP.
Continuity of coverage remains a paramount topic for CMCS, particularly as the federal government rolls back the coverage expansions provided during the public health emergency.
In his plenary speech, Director Tsai highlighted the significant yet appropriate role of Medicaid and CHIP in covering health-related social needs. A breakout session emphasized this point by featuring the experiences of two state Medicaid programs in Massachusetts and Wisconsin, which drew on federal program flexibility to address issues such as food insecurity and housing instability. Although state agencies have flexibility to design these programs, including new guidance in lieu of services and settings, evaluation and monitoring are essential to gauge the impact of these initiatives and maintain federal approval.
CMCS recognizes the growing significance of health-related social needs within Medicaid and CHIP, as shown by the integration of indicators for these needs into CMCS’s 2023 Medicaid and CHIP Beneficiary Profile and Infographic. In the conference resource hall, attendees were able to view these enhancements to the annual profile produced by CMCS and Mathematica.
Tools that monitor health equity can help State Agencies assess equitable and timely access to care in areas such as oral health.
For the first time, the CMS Quality Conference featured multiple sessions on oral health. A session on advancing health equity highlighted a variety of tools that can be used to curb inequities in oral health care, including the Oral Health Equity Self-Assessment Tool and a dashboard that dynamically generates state and national reports on oral health care quality measures. CMCS also shared a new infographic titled 2023 Medicaid & CHIP Beneficiaries at a Glance: Oral Health. This infographic highlights disparities in dental visits by type of insurance, child and adolescent oral health care, dental provider participation, and Medicaid coverage of dental services for adults and pregnant people.
Director Tsai noted CMCS’s efforts related to the notice of proposed rulemaking for managed care access, finance, and quality. To supplement the proposed rules associated with the Medicaid and CHIP Quality Rating System (MAC QRS), CMCS and Mathematica partnered to develop resources for a MAC QRS webpage, which includes prototypes and video walkthroughs explaining the concepts included in the notice of proposed rulemaking.
Learning collaboratives and affinity groups are valuable for driving quality improvement.
During a session featuring the CMCS Foster Care Affinity Group, participants from South Carolina discussed drawing on partnerships between state Medicaid and CHIP agencies and managed care organizations to make sustainable improvements. Successful affinity groups give state agencies a chance to receive technical assistance and training on evidence-based quality improvement and to collaborate on a focused topic. CMCS and Mathematica continue to partner on quality improvement initiatives across a broad array of topics, including enhancing postpartum care and well-infant care increasing asthma control and tobacco cessation, and improving follow-up care for behavioral health.
As the conference ended, we reflected on the increasing prominence of Medicaid and CHIP at this yearly gathering. The exhibition halls were brimming with posters showcasing initiatives related to Medicaid and CHIP, and nearly every time slot featured one or more breakout sessions that included these programs. Mathematica takes great pride in partnering with CMCS and contributing to the increasing presence of Medicaid and CHIP at this significant event. Looking ahead to 2024, Mathematica eagerly anticipates the chance to meet its partners and colleagues in person at next year’s conference.
If you missed the 2023 CMS Quality Conference, you can register to access materials and recordings of plenaries and breakout sessions from the conference.