IMI Report Examines Managed Care Organizations’ Pivot to Address Social Determinants of Health and Equity During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC – When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, much of outpatient health care stopped—for days, weeks, or longer. But people continued to need food, information, and support. Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) stepped in and listened. Pivoting to the individual, family, and community necessities, Medicaid health plans adapted existing and developed new initiatives to meet their health and social needs.

Recognizing the incredible innovation that Medicaid health plans led in partnership with community-based organizations, the Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) conducted a national environmental scan to collect best practices of initiatives focused on meeting health and social needs to address inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic. With support from the Episcopal Health Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, IMI created a compendium of 33 innovative initiatives and emerging best practices.

“Medicaid Managed Care’s Pandemic Pivot: Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Improve Health Equity” includes initiatives and programs from 14 states across the U.S. from a 2021 national request for information to identify emerging best practices and innovative initiatives. The initiatives represent submissions from a wide range of Medicaid health plans: national and local, large and small, corporate and nonprofit. An esteemed group of Medicaid experts were invited to serve as peer reviewers as part of a blinded review process to score and select eight initiatives to explore the drivers of innovation by Medicaid MCOs. The report is available here.

Three initiatives in the national compendium were featured at a live release virtual event on June 27th.

The event examines more about how each initiative pivoted during the pandemic to meet the health and social needs of its members to address inequities. Panelists from community-based organizations will be featured as they share their experiences, challenges, and lessons learned.

About the Institute for Medicaid Innovation

The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization that provides independent, nonpartisan information and analysis to inform Medicaid policy and improve the health of the nation.

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