Arizona recognized for its Medicaid program innovation


Soraya Marashi


The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Arizona’s Medicaid program, received a 2022 Medicaid Innovation Award presented by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP). The nonpartisan award recognizes states for demonstrating creativity, leadership, and progress in their Medicaid programs despite significant public health challenges in recent years.

AHCCCS received the award for its work on initiatives to address social determinants of health and their impact on whole person care.

Selected by a panel of expert advisers, Medicaid Innovation Award recipients are Medicaid agency leaders who implemented or enhanced initiatives that demonstrate innovative and unique approaches to improving the health and lives of Medicaid enrollees.

Specifically, Arizona’s Medicaid program was recognized for developing the Whole Person Care Initiative, which offers a range of support services to enrollees including transitional housing; referrals for and transportation to community-based services such as employment and food assistance; and long-term care services to reduce social isolation.

“AHCCCS is incredibly honored to receive this recognition for its work to improve the health outcomes of the over 2.4 million Arizonans served by the program,” said Jami Snyder, director of AHCCCS. “Our data demonstrates that we can be more impactful in providing quality care and bending the health care cost curve when we focus on innovation that not only addresses members’ clinical care needs but also economic and social drivers of health. In the coming years, AHCCCS will continue this mission critical work – focusing on efforts that make it easier for clinicians to connect individuals to needed social services, offer transitional housing to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and connect those experiencing social isolation to community resources.”

“Medicaid enables states to develop tailored, creative solutions to local challenges, and when faced with an unprecedented pandemic, Medicaid leaders dug deep to develop innovative approaches to care,” said Tara Oakman, interim managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “While it remains a difficult period for Medicaid programs, all states can learn from successes in other states in improving Medicaid access, care delivery, and equity.”

Medicaid is a joint state-federal health insurance program that covers one in five people in the United States, including elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities, and 40 percent of all children nationwide. In partnership with the federal government, states can tailor and enhance their Medicaid programs to meet the unique needs of their residents.

The recognized states were honored at NASHP’s annual conference in Seattle.

This press release was provided by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.