Data Optimization

Learnings for Human Services from the Medicaid System Conference

By Christina Becker    September 2019


The annual Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) brings together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to share ideas and information related to Medicaid IT systems and initiatives. This year it was held August 19th-22nd in Chicago and saw 1600 attendees from across the country, including many program staff.

Of the many sessions at the conference, one of the highlights included the opening session with Julie Boughn (Director, Data and Systems Group, CMS) and John Doerr (author of Measure What Matters). They discussed a method to lead a team and achieve results, by focusing on Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Seema Verma (CMS Administrator), has a strong vision to adopt OKRs for how CMS runs its business, and has asked John Doerr to lead several workshops at the agency. OKRs help organizations prioritize and outline goals. An objective is an overarching goal, while key results are the metrics used to determine if and how the goal was achieved. OKRs manage achievement and execution, improving the allocation of human capital and resources and increasing insight and accountability. To study this method of setting and achieving goals for yourself or your agency, check out these resources or watch John’s TED Talk.

State highlights from various sessions included:

  • A session exploring the data and analytics work that Ohio used to address their infant mortality crisis. Within a span of four months, the state brought together Medicaid, mental health, CFSA, and public health, and combined thirty-one data sets, to determine which moms and infants are most at risk of infant death, which intervention programs yield the best outcomes, and which families are most likely to benefit from targeted interventions.
  • NY shared some of their innovative approaches related to value based purchasing, and that they are standing up an SDOH Bureau.
  • North Carolina’s Department of Health & Human Services discussed their Healthy Opportunities pilot, which involved developing a methodology to evaluate financial ROI & well-being, and also discussed their NCCare360 platform, a closed-loop referral system.

More information about the conference – including PPT presentations – can be found on the conference website: https://www.mesconference.org/

About the Author

Christina Becker (Full Bio)

Manager, Knowledge Mobilization
American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)


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