Before I started with SAS, I worked at the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health. Among many other projects, our analytics work included integrating data from multiple county departments and risk stratifying citizens in the greatest need of public services.
This led to our 1115 Whole Person Care (WPC) waiver effort, which uses data as an advocacy tool to improve health and benefits packages. Being on the ground floor of such a project was a meaningful way to pursue my personal and professional goals.
Though I didn’t get to work directly on the project I helped write the application for San Bernardino. I also continued to support WPC efforts, both for the same 1115 waiver and elsewhere. Riverside University Health System (RUHS), Riverside County’s health agency, was one of the ways I got to see this work flourish.
Integrating data to improve outcomes
RUHS sought to not only improve health outcomes but also reduce criminal justice recidivism. To do so, RUHS focused on the probation population, testing the impact of field-based outreach, engagement and care coordination. As my colleagues at the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission have shown, intensive outpatient services can significantly improve criminal justice outcomes. RUHS also wanted to be able to demonstrate the importance of services delivered pre-release.
CalAIM is a new package of Medicaid waivers that replaces the 1115 WPC waiver in California. WPC benefits are now part of a more routine waiver system thanks to intentional data integration efforts for analytics. An Enhanced Care Management (ECM) benefit is being offered statewide similar to the work done in agencies like San Bernardino, Riverside, and the State’s Department of Health Care Services.
Furthermore, California is intentionally exploring and testing ways to provide pre-release benefits and services. Waiting until probationers are released from jail or prison leaves a lot of opportunity for missed interventions, care, and prevention.
Dr. Judi Nightingale is Riverside’s director of population health. She recently shared Riverside’s experience applying analytics to Medicaid policy during the 2021 Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference. This session, Putting Social Determinants of Health Data to Work, details how data and analytics provide an accurate picture of community needs and the impact of services. A lot of prior work has focused on those served by public safety, like probationers. We also want to support those who work in public safety and mental health to help them better serve communities.
Join my colleague Todd Chamberlain and me for a conversation on Data for Good: Enhancing the Partnership of Public Service and Mental Health. Be sure to share with us how data is working for good in your communities served by Medicaid.