The Foundation has committed to base its work in the structural racism and racial inequities in health focus area on issues raised by the communities and community members experiencing racism and health inequities. To that end, the Foundation partnered with established community-based organizations across the state to convene focus groups featuring the perspectives of community members on how racism impacts health and access to health care services. A total of seven focus groups, organized geographically, were held virtually.
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The End of the Federal Continuous Coverage Requirement in MassHealth: Key Strategies for Reducing Coverage Loss
This issue brief aims to educate stakeholders and policymakers about an upcoming federal policy change that could impact coverage for many MassHealth members. Like all states, Massachusetts received enhanced federal Medicaid funding under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the first major federal stimulus package passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. As a condition of receiving these funds, Massachusetts is required to maintain continuous coverage in MassHealth during the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.
In December 2021, Governor Baker signed Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021 into law. This legislation, often referred to as the “ARPA bill,” appropriates close to $4 billion, including $2.55 billion in funding directly from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA was passed in March 2021 to provide money to states to start recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter 102 invests money from ARPA in many areas, including housing, infrastructure, education, and economic development.
The goal of this study was to better understand whether Primary Care Providers (PCPs) identify a need for a PCP-to-behavioral health (BH) provider consultation program for adult patients with mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUDs), and whether they would utilize such a program. Additionally, the study sought to understand the type of BH conditions providers encounter, the proportion of adult primary care patients with BH needs, and the challenges PCPs face in supporting adult patients with BH conditions.
Behavioral Health During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Update on Need and Access in Massachusetts 2020/2021
This brief provides an updated snapshot of the need for behavioral health care and experiences accessing it in the Commonwealth as of 2020/2021, based on a new survey commissioned by the Foundation. This survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago between December 2020 and March 2021 and gathered information on the need for and access to behavioral health care among Massachusetts adults ages 19 and older and their close relatives.
Racism and Racial Inequities in Health: A Data-Informed Primer on Health Disparities in Massachusetts
This primer serves as a foundational resource to broaden the collective understanding of racial and ethnic health inequities and disparities in the Commonwealth as part of our new focus area of Structural Racism and Racial Inequities in Health.
As a program that provides publicly-funded health benefits to more than 2 million low-income children and families, seniors and people living with disabilities in Massachusetts, it is not surprising that MassHealth accounts for a large share of the state’s budget. However, a cursory review of the MassHealth budget can be misleading because it can obscure the billions of dollars in federal revenue that the program generates for the state.
In response to the health and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March 2021, which makes $1.9 trillion available to individuals, states and territories, counties, cities, community organizations, educational institutions, and other entities. Some funds are intended to shore up or even expand programs and agencies that have been depleted during the pandemic, while other funds are designated or available to create new programs.
Value-Based Payment to Support Children’s Health and Wellness: Shifting the Focus from Short-Term to Life Course Impact
Health care payers, providers, and policymakers are increasingly pursuing value-based payment (VBP) to improve the quality of care and population health while controlling rising health care costs. When implemented in Medicaid, VBP programs often include children and adults in the same model, though these models may not fully account for children’s distinct health needs.
Addressing timely access to behavioral health care through the adoption of open access methods supports the well-being of people with behavioral health conditions, improves staff productivity, and increases financial stability for provider organizations. However, no study has previously documented the experience of provider organizations using this model in Massachusetts.
This five-part series of issue briefs describes MassHealth’s impact on the health and finances of its members, families, and communities, as well as on the wide variety of stakeholders and sectors outside of the traditional health care realm that benefit from the program, including:
The MassHealth Accountable Care Organization Program: Uncovering Opportunities to Drive Future Success
This report describes the results of a qualitative analysis of the MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program over its first two years of operation. The Foundation commissioned this report to provide timely insight into what is working well, challenges stakeholders are facing, and opportunities to strengthen the program.
Of the more than 1.8 million people enrolled in MassHealth, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, one in five are dually eligible and receive health care coverage through two distinct payers – Medicare and MassHealth. This educational primer was developed to build a deeper understanding of the dual eligible population in Massachusetts. It illustrates the diversity of dual eligible individuals’ clinical and functional needs, service utilization, and spending patterns.
The Preventive Effect of Housing First on Health Care Utilization and Costs Among Chronically Homeless Individuals
Housing First programs offer chronically homeless individuals immediate housing as a foundation for the delivery of a range of other supportive services, such as mental health and/or substance use disorder services and social service supports.
This educational brief describes the key elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provides an overview of California v. Texas, a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the ACA. Also included in this brief is a discussion of recent relevant case history and how the arguments in California v. Texas build upon prior legal challenges to the ACA.