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The MassHealth Demonstration Extension 2022–2027: Building on Success, Focusing on Equity

Massachusetts administers much of MassHealth through an 1115 Demonstration waiver, approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which it has extended several times since it was originally approved in 1995. On September 28, 2022, CMS approved Massachusetts’ request for a five-year extension of its Demonstration, which is in effect from October 1, 2022 through December 31, 2027.

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The Time is Now: The $5.9 Billion Case for Massachusetts Health Equity Reform

Racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes have been well documented in Massachusetts and across the country. Solutions for reducing inequities in health require investments of time and resources for which there will always be competing priorities. In understanding the value of these investments, it is critical to recognize that in addition to the human toll, they represent a significant economic burden to individuals and families, health care providers, employers, public and private sector payers, and the overall Massachusetts economy.

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Problem Management Plus: An Evidence-Based Approach to Expanding Access to Community-Based Mental Health Supports

Problem Management Plus (PM+) is a proven, scalable, and cost-effective low-intensity mental health intervention that can be delivered by trained non-clinical workers for people who are experiencing common mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, or stressful life problems. PM+ fills a gap in the behavioral health services system by providing early intervention and potential prevention of more acute behavioral health service needs.

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Closing the Coverage Gaps: Reducing Health Insurance Disparities in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has been exemplary in developing health insurance coverage policies to cover its residents. By 2019, the state’s uninsurance rate was 3.0 percent, the lowest rate in the nation, representing about 204,000 uninsured residents. While the state’s overall uninsured rate at a given point in time is low, more than twice as many people - 503,000, or 7.3 percent of the population - experienced a gap in coverage over the previous twelve months. And importantly, not all groups benefit equally.

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Reducing Coverage Loss: A 2023 Update on the End of the Federal Continuous Coverage Requirement in MassHealth

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 was required to maintain continuous coverage in MassHealth during the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.

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A Focus on Health Care: Five Key Priorities for the Next Administration

Massachusetts’ historical achievements in bold and innovative health care policy have positioned the state as a national leader in transforming health care coverage, access, affordability, and quality. Yet despite decades of progress, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to ignore that not all Massachusetts residents are able to access, afford, or experience health care equally.

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Creating a Robust, Diverse, and Resilient Behavioral Health Workforce in Massachusetts

The behavioral health workforce in Massachusetts is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the prevalence of behavioral health issues and demand for services, exposing and aggravating the vulnerabilities of Massachusetts’ behavioral health workforce and delivery system. Health care, including behavioral health care, has been among the industries hardest hit by the “Great Resignation,” exacerbating workforce shortages that predated the pandemic.

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The MassHealth Proposed Demonstration Extension 2022–2027: Building on Success, Focusing on Equity

Massachusetts administers much of MassHealth through an 1115 Demonstration waiver, approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which it has extended several times since it was originally approved in 1995. In December 2021, Massachusetts submitted a request to CMS to extend its Demonstration for another five years.

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Structural Racism and Racial Inequities in Health: Summary of Focus Group Key Themes and Findings

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

An updated version of this issue brief is now available here.

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

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Health Care in the ARPA Bill: Selected Highlights from Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021

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.

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Help for the Front Line: Approaches to Behavioral Health Consultation for Primary Care Providers

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.

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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.

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Cover of Behavioral Health and COVID report

What is the Actual State Cost of MassHealth in State Fiscal Year 2022?

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.

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cover of the What's the Actual Cost of MassHealth in State Fiscal Year 2022?