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How can partnering with universities leverage health reform benefits?
Chief Health Policy Strategist
Center for Health Policy and Research
University of Massachusetts Medical School

The potential for rapid growth and change in state Medicaid programs, coupled with the substantial planning, policy development, and enhanced infrastructure that these changes require, has added significant stress to a system already strained to its limits. Most state Medicaid programs are underfunded and face significant financial and human resources constraints as well as challenges in developing and maintaining the type of knowledge assets appropriate for programs of such size, importance, and complexity.

As a result, all state Medicaid programs are in need of policy, research, and clinical expertise to help with designing and implementing new approaches for monitoring the effectiveness and outcomes of health services provided and with developing and sharing knowledge about program outcomes to inform the rest of the health care system. To address these needs, state Medicaid programs frequently look beyond their own agency for policy and analytic support.

Universities, particularly those that train health care professionals, have research, evaluation, and clinical resources that can support Medicaid programs in developing and implementing new approaches to expanding access, measuring and improving quality, controlling the cost of care, and researching the impact of various health services on health outcomes and the larger health care delivery system.

State Medicaid programs can benefit from the wide range of expertise of university faculty who can support Medicaid programs in addressing recognized problems and discovering new opportunities for improvement and innovation. In that universities may be seen as independent and bring unique academic resources and methodologies to the table, Medicaid programs may find working with their states’ universities to be a way of engaging stakeholders around an accepted understanding of the programs’ cost and performance. 

Extracted from:

Acad Med. 2013 Nov;88(11):1606-8. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a7cdf8.
Advancing the university mission through partnerships with state Medicaid programs.
Himmelstein J1, Bindman AB.