A new grant from the federal government will soon help Alabama Medicaid obtain new technology and resources to improve health outcomes for adults covered by the program.
The Adult Health Quality Measures Grant, announced December 21 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will be used to increase the Agency’s capacity for standardized data collection and reporting of the data on the quality of health care provided to the approximately 452,644 adults currently eligible for Alabama Medicaid, according to Medicaid Medical Director Dr. Robert Moon.
The Agency was initially awarded $1 million for the first year and is eligible to receive up to $2 million over the two-year period. Grant funds will be used to build a quality unit in the Data Analytics Division with the capacity to collect, analyze and report on data from claims, electronic health records (EHR), One Health Record®, the state’s health information exchange (HIE), the Real Time Medical Electronic Data Exchange (RMEDE), and other sources.
“The Agency currently does not have a focused unit and system to track the CMS Initial Core Set of Adult Health Measures nor the CMS Initial Core set of Child Health measures,” Dr. Moon said. “At the end of this grant, our goal is to have created a data collection system and the analytics for the Adult Health measures that will be robust enough to allow us to eventually also collect the child health measures as well.”
Medicaid has many needs for data to be turned into information that can drive quality decisions and achieve better health outcomes, he said. “For example, what is the effect of using evidence based medicine to drive policy? What is the effect of our prior authorization policy for antipsychotic use in adults? Does the utilization of other drugs go up? Does the overall number of behavioral health drugs decrease, stay the same, or increase? Being able to collect and analyze this information could potentially assist us with improving the quality of care and outcomes.”
To achieve the goals of better health care at a lower cost, Medicaid must move from simply collecting information and data in different programs/activities to analyzing and using the data to drive improved adult health outcomes, Dr. Moon said. “Developing a quality unit in the Data Analytics Division will take the Agency to the next level by greatly facilitating our quality improvement efforts.”