NAMD 2022 – How housing can enable better health care

By: Jessica Stimpson, market lead, public sector programs

Last month I attended the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) 2022 Fall Conference in Washington D.C. It was my first time attending this annual conference which brings together senior leaders in the Medicaid industry, and it will not be my last. From connecting with new decision-makers to learning about the latest challenges affecting the Medicaid program from industry experts, the conference provided valuable insights that will impact how my team and I work with States.

The NAMD 2022 Fall Conference focused heavily on policy and strategy with themes targeting social determinants of health across a spectrum of issues including housing, mental health and health equity, and the challenges faced addressing these issues as it relates to care access. Key topics discussed were improving relationships and collaborations between the states and CMS, the impacts of housing on health care access and health outcomes and managing through the end of the public health emergency by requesting more definitive guidance from the federal government to ensure qualified Medicaid recipients remain covered.

One of the core themes that stood out to me most was the one focused on how making housing more available will create better access to health care, and in turn, better outcomes for the Medicaid population. Louisiana and Washington D.C. both shared their plans to create available housing and the associated placement programs to ensure access to health care.

Louisiana created a dedicated channel of support for their Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program within the Department of Health. They engage with other agencies and local housing authorities to support placement. Louisiana stated that they have a 95% stability rate for those placed in the program. Preliminary data indicates there will be a 25% reduction in Medicaid costs for people in the PSH program. Washington D.C. supports the Pathways to Housing DC program for housing placement and is receiving federal Medicaid dollars through the use of a waiver from CMS. In addition, these funds support Assertive Community Treatment, which is a covered Medicaid Service that provides at home mental health services to the individual. Both programs demonstrate how housing is directly linked to heath access and health outcomes.

As a proof point on how prioritizing housing-related services positively affects Medicaid programs, these presentations referenced savings based on a study conducted in Oregon. In its initial draft, the State reported these outcomes:

  • 12% decrease in Medicaid spending
  • 18% decrease in emergency department use
  • 20% increase in use of outpatient primary care

As more states begin to look at programs that will assist with housing insecurity, the data set supporting this social determinant is growing and creating access to housing could be foundational in improving health, reducing costs and building paths to future independence.

At Noridian, we share a common goal with Medicaid agencies – to enable access to health care. For us, that’s through supporting State’s back-office processes, such as efficiently enrolling providers and processing claims. By improving operational processes through provider enrollment and timely claims processing, states can provide more seamless health care and focus on other valuable activities that reach their members.

If you are a state exploring operational efficiencies to free up internal staff so they can focus on priority initiatives, we would love to connect with you. Please contact me through the Contact Us page on our website.

About the author:
Jessica Stimpson is the public sector market lead at Noridian Healthcare Solutions. Serving as the central contact for state health programs, Stimpson is responsible for bringing the innovative administrative services and renowned customer experience Noridian is known for to new Medicaid markets. As market lead, she manages relationships with key Noridian customers and influencers including executive leadership, external stakeholders and operating leaders. Prior to this role, Stimpson worked closely with Noridian for nearly two decades in a customer capacity, most recently as the vice president of sales and marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). In this role, she provided direction for the development and implementation of strategic sales, product and consulting plans.