What You Should Know:
– Millions of Americans managing insulin-requiring diabetes (IRD) face a unique set of challenges, often compounded by social needs like food insecurity, housing instability, and financial stress. These factors can significantly impact their ability to effectively manage their condition and achieve optimal health outcomes.
– Recognizing this critical need, the Medicaid Innovation Collaborative (MIC) has launched pilot programs in Iowa, Kentucky, and New York, targeting these very issues with innovative tech-enabled solutions.
Funding for Impact
The programs are funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust and Acumen America funding partners, highlighting the growing recognition of the crucial role technology can play in addressing health-related social needs (HRSN) among Medicaid beneficiaries. As detailed in a recent brief from the Center for Health Care Strategies, HRSN are prevalent among Medicaid beneficiaries, particularly those living with chronic conditions like IRD.
Statistics paint a stark picture. Compared to the general population, Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes experience significantly higher rates of poor management, worse glycemic control, greater barriers to care, and more condition-related complications. Laurel Koester, Program Officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, aptly captures the dilemma: “It’s hard to prioritize diabetes management if you don’t know where you’re going to sleep or when you’re getting your next meal.”
The MIC pilots offer tailored approaches in each state:
- Passport by Molina Healthcare & FarmboxRx: This pilot aims to improve food access and nutrition education for 200 Louisville residents with IRD through monthly deliveries and live education sessions.
- Samaritan, Aetna Better Health & Humana Healthy Horizons: This program empowers housing-insecure beneficiaries with resources and support to address critical needs and improve access to care, utilities, and housing.
- Attane Health & Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Kentucky Medicaid: This pilot utilizes a Food Is Medicine intervention to provide 100 Anthem members with IRD access to customized, nutrient-dense food and nutrition coaching.
- Staten Island PPS, Ready Computing, Samaritan & Healthfirst: This outreach program uses Ready Computing’s platform to connect underserved Healthfirst members with community resources addressing their HRSN. A subset of unhoused members will receive financial incentives and support through the Samaritan Membership program.
- Kaizen Health, Wellpoint, Iowa Total Care, and Molina Healthcare of Iowa: This statewide partnership ensures access to non-emergency medical transportation for IRD patients across three counties, allowing them to attend appointments and address critical social needs.
Building Bridges, Reducing Disparities
These pilot programs represent a significant step forward in addressing the complex needs of Medicaid beneficiaries with IRD. By leveraging technology and collaborative partnerships, they aim to bridge the gap between healthcare and social services, empowering individuals to better manage their diabetes and improve their overall health. The successes of these pilots could pave the way for wider adoption of tech-enabled solutions to address HRSN and ultimately reduce health disparities among Medicaid beneficiaries across the United States.
“These pilots allow us to demonstrate meaningful impact by developing unique partnerships between entrepreneurial technology solutions and managed care plans, with the support of state Medicaid, that would not have previously occurred,” said Veenu Aulakh, Executive Director of the MIC. “These partnerships hold promise to help reduce the many health inequities Medicaid beneficiaries face in the United States.”