News & Bulletins Archive

The Hilltop Institute at UMBC, with its partners ServBeyond Solutions and A-G Associates, has just been awarded a $2 million contract from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) to develop a multi-payer claims analytic tool (MCAT).

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Hilltop Executive Director Cynthia Woodcock joined Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Professor Peter Cunningham in an AcademyHealth blog post to discuss the findings of the VCU/Hilltop study that examined the experience with §1115 waivers for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in Maryland and Virginia.

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The Hilltop Institute at UMBC, in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMB SOM’s) Department of Emergency Medicine, has just received funding to develop and test a measure of hospital quality that assesses hospitals based on the frequency of downstream clinically relevant readmissions (DCRR) as opposed to blanket 30-day all-cause readmissions.

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Hilltop Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley, MA, helped organize and participated on a panel titled Tobacco Costs: Present and Future Measurements and Effects at the 2019 Fall Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) held in Denver, Colorado November 7-9, 2019. The panel discussed three papers that used different methods to examine the consequences of smoking and how high cigarette taxes are causing a rise in e-cigarette use. The findings from these studies offered new and timely information that can directly inform policymakers.

In his presentation, titled Estimating the Costs to Mississippi Medicaid Attributable to Tobacco, Betley talked about how policy studies are judged, based on both policymakers’ interests and researchers’ scientific directive. He then discussed the innovative methodology of the study: the use of state Medicaid claims data to estimate the costs of tobacco use to a state Medicaid program. Findings gleaned by this methodology are more timely and accurate than the use of national estimates alone.

Other panel participants were Conor J. Lennon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Louisville, who presented a paper titled Paying for the Medical Costs of Smoking: New Evidence from the Employer Mandate and Catherine Maclean, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University, who presented a paper titled The Effect of e-Cigarette Taxes on Tobacco Product Use among Adults.

Open enrollment is now underway, and premiums for health insurance offered through the Maryland Health Connection, Maryland’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, will be lower in 2020 because of the state’s reinsurance program. Hilltop was an important behind-the-scenes player in developing the reinsurance program.

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Hilltop Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley, MA, presented a poster titled Estimating the Costs to Mississippi Medicaid Attributable to Tobacco Using Paid Amounts to Providers for Tobacco-Related Illnesses at the National Network of Public Health Institutes’ 2019 National Conference on Tobacco or Health held August 27-29 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The poster presented Hilltop’s study funded by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy, describing the methodology and the study’s results, which estimated that tobacco-related illness made up 9 percent of Mississippi Medicaid’s health care spending. View the poster.

With two recently awarded grants, Hilltop is contributing to the development and deployment of MODRN, developed by members of the State-University Partnership Learning Network (SUPLN) and hosted by AcademyHealth. MODRN facilitates efficient, data-driven, cross-state comparisons of Medicaid initiatives to advance policymaking. The distributed research network model enables high-quality analyses of multiple states’ Medicaid administrative data without the need to share sensitive person-level data across states.

Hilltop, with its nationally recognized 25-year partnership with the Maryland Medicaid program, is one of the founding members of the SUPLN, which now boasts 25 partnerships in 23 states. Cynthia Woodcock, Hilltop’s executive director, chairs the SUPLN steering committee. Julie Donohue, PhD, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Director of the Medicaid Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, is leading the development of MODRN on behalf of the SUPLN. Under MODRN, each state-university partnership adopts a common data model, contributes to a common analytic plan, and conducts analyses locally on its own Medicaid data using standardized code. Findings are aggregated and shared across states.

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Hilltop is proud to announce that Senior Policy Analyst Oludolapo Fakeye, PhD, MA won the award for best student poster at the 2019 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM), held in Washington, DC, from June 1 to 4, 2019. View his winning poster, Disparities in Quality Performance among Patient-Centered Medical Homes by Proportion of Low-Income Patients Served. Four other Hilltop staff gave presentations as well.

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The Population Health Management article on the Benefits Data Trust (BDT) research that Hilltop collaborated on and that found Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation and benefit levels to be associated with reduced subsequent hospital and emergency department utilization in low-income, dual eligible older adults has just been recognized as a high-impact/top-cited article. Hilltop Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley is a co-author and led Hilltop’s research team. Read the Article.

Hilltop researcher Charles Betley has just published an article on the costs of tobacco-related illness to the Mississippi Medicaid program in the online daily newsletter, The Conversation. Betley and fellow researchers conducted a study for the Center for Mississippi Health Policy in which they employed a different, more specific method than using national estimates to reach their findings. These findings were published in a Hilltop report and also in a Center for Mississippi Health Policy issue brief.

Read the article here.

The Hilltop Institute at UMBC has entered into an interagency agreement with the Maryland Primary Care Program (MDPCP) to design and implement a model that will predict the risk of avoidable hospitalizations for individuals in Maryland’s Medicare population.

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The Hilltop Institute has just completed a study funded by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy titled Estimating the Costs to Mississippi Medicaid Attributable to Tobacco. To conduct the study, Hilltop researchers analyzed Mississippi Medicaid claims data and quantified the financial impact of tobacco use on Mississippi’s Medicaid program. Hilltop Executive Director Cynthia Woodcock was principal investigator and Senior Policy Analyst Charles Betley was project manager.

The Center for Mississippi Health Policy also published an issue brief that summarizes the study methodology and elaborates on the policy considerations.

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The Hilltop Institute has just published a summary report of an assessment it conducted of four grant programs funded by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC). The mission of the CHRC is to increase access to care and build capacity among the state’s safety net providers. In spring 2016, the CHRC contracted with Hilltop to assess the programs of four selected 2016 grantees: Potomac Healthcare Foundation, Lower Shore Clinic, Garrett County Health Department, and Baltimore City Health Department. The objective of the assessment was to determine the extent to which the programs had an impact on health services utilization and costs for participating Medicaid beneficiaries. Hilltop’s summary report discusses the assessment methodology, limitations, and key findings. Read the report.

Hilltop Special Advisor and former Executive Director John Kaelin has co-authored a Rockefeller Institute of Government issue brief titled Medicaid Buy-In: Questions of Purpose and Design. In the brief, Kaelin and co-author Katherine Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discuss the idea of states using Medicaid as a platform for coverage expansion through Medicaid buy-in—initiatives that use part of the structure of the Medicaid program to open coverage, for a fee, to populations not usually eligible for Medicaid. The brief discusses three types of buy-ins and design issues that should be considered and concludes with a discussion of the use of Medicaid buy-in to address access to and affordability of health care.

The Center for Mississippi Health Policy has commissioned The Hilltop Institute to estimate the costs to Mississippi Medicaid attributable to tobacco. Using the best available evidence from the research literature, Hilltop will identify conditions associated with tobacco use and the associated ICD-10 diagnosis codes to build a model for estimating tobacco-related costs for Mississippi Medicaid participants.

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