Medicaid redesign update: telehealth and quality/cost targets workgroups submit reports

Recently the Department of Health and Social Services received final reports from two stakeholder workgroups authorized through Senate Bill 74 (SB74), which passed the Legislature in 2016 to redesign the Medicaid program.  The first of these reports focuses on recommendations to reduce barriers to the expansion of telehealth strategies. The second focuses on recommendations of program measures and performance goals to monitor and improve the overall quality and cost effectiveness of the program.

The Alaska Medicaid Redesign Telehealth Stakeholder Workgroup was comprised of 17 members representing hospitals, private practice physicians, provider organizations, tribal health organizations, and emergency responders. The workgroup met several times over eight months to discuss current telehealth capabilities, potential areas for expansion of telehealth services and barriers inhibiting expansion.  As a result of these discussions, the workgroup report includes ten recommendations for addressing the barriers and challenges to expanding telehealth options throughout the state. The Telehealth Stakeholder Workgroup report is available here.

Focused on overall program performance, the Alaska Medicaid Redesign Quality and Cost Effectiveness Targets Stakeholder Workgroup recommends in their report 18 program performance measures that can be monitored over the course of the next several years to evaluate gains in program quality.  The 15-member workgroup representing providers, provider organizations, consumers, and tribal health organizations, considered numerous national measures before selecting the final 18 measures and then developing corresponding performance goals.  In addition to the recommendations on performance measures and goals, the workgroup made five additional recommendations regarding adoption of future measures and data support essential for evaluating performance.  The Quality & Cost Effectiveness Targets Stakeholder Workgroup report is available here.

Over the course of the next several weeks the Department will be analyzing the recommendations brought forward in the reports and developing strategies for moving forward.  Each report and the Department’s response will be included in the annual report on Medicaid redesign efforts that will be released in November.

Feedback regarding the recommendations contained in each of the reports is welcome, and may be submitted to Medicaid.Redesign@Alaska.gov