Top 10 Milbank Memorial Fund Publications of 2022

The COVID pandemic highlighted weaknesses in the US health care system that continue to affect the access to, and the equity and quality of, health, social, and long-term services. Our top 10 most-read publications of 2022 (not including Milbank Quarterly articles) covered policy approaches to fill these gaps, including coordinated state plans to strengthen the direct care workforce; federal action to improve nursing facility quality; policies to bolster primary care for underserved populations; and two state programs to connect residents with social supports. Other popular pieces included a personal account of leading a Medicaid program during the pandemic and the story of the Fund’s journey to reckon with its full legacy.

 We hope you’ll check out these pieces and the other most-read publications of the year or revisit them with fresh eyes.

1. Direct Care Workforce Policy and Action Guide

This guide for state officials examines the challenges that direct care workers face — and the administrative, funding, policy, and regulatory levers that states can use to better support this critical workforce. Authors Courtney Roman of the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), Clare Luz of IMPART Alliance/Michigan State University, Carrie Graham and Nida Joseph of CHCS, and Kate McEvoy of the Milbank Memorial Fund provide action steps and examples of how officials can build a coordinated plan that is tailored to state needs and responsive to drivers of the direct care worker shortage.

2. A Call for Federal Action to Improve Nursing Facilities

Nursing facility residents’ high infection rates and poor overall care experiences during COVID have amplified long-standing concerns about the quality and cost-effectiveness of nursing facility care, particularly for residents of color. In this issue brief, the Milbank Memorial Fund’s Kate McEvoy and health care consultant Charles Milligan outline the current state of nursing facilities and how aligned federal policy could inspire and incentivize quality improvement and reduce disparities.

3.  The Effectiveness of Policies to Improve Primary Care Access for Underserved Populations: An Assessment of the Literature

This report, created with support from the National Institute for Health Care Reform, assesses the evidence for policy interventions in five dimensions of primary care access for underserved groups, including communities of color and residents in rural areas. Authors Maanasa Kona and colleagues at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms find that several approaches have a positive impact on access and utilization.

4. Harms and Healing

In 2020, the Milbank Memorial Fund began a diversity, equity, and inclusion review that fully examined the Fund’s history, programming, and governance practices. In this View from Here, Fund President Christopher Koller details the Fund’s journey in realizing and grappling with its legacy, authentically fulfilling its mission, and charting a path forward to advance health equity.

5. North Carolina’s COVID-19 Support Services Program: Lessons for Health Policy Programs to Address Social Needs

Early in the pandemic, North Carolina health policy leaders created the North Carolina COVID-19 Support Services Program (SSP) to address a variety of pandemic-related social needs. In this issue brief, copublished with the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, William K. Bleser and colleagues analyze the SSP and offer takeaways for policymakers and social services leaders on building infrastructure to promote the sustainability of interventions to address health-related social needs.

6. Disaggregating Asian American and Pacific Islander Health Data: Opportunities to Advance Health Equity

Even though Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people are a diverse group consisting of more than 50 ethnicities, their health data is often aggregated as one race. In this blog post, Kevin H. Nguyen of Brown University explores the value of collecting and reporting on disaggregated AAPI data to better understand and address health disparities among AAPI people. Addressing disparities is particularly important now given the rise of anti-AAPI violence and discrimination since the COVID pandemic. Nguyen highlights how policymakers could improve AAPI data collection in surveys, public benefit applications, and medical claims data.

7. Leading a Medicaid Program During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Reflections on My Experience and Ways to Support State Medicaid Leadership

In a deeply personal View from Here, the Milbank Memorial Fund’s Kate McEvoy offers thoughts on the privilege and challenges of leading a Medicaid program during the COVID pandemic. She also suggests ways that federal and state officials can support overwhelmed but committed Medicaid directors and their agencies.

8. Per Capita Health Care Spending in States: Getting to Apples to Apples

In a View from Here, the Fund’s president, Christopher Koller, considers a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that makes it possible to compare per person state health care spending, and to better understand the health system cost drivers. Koller reviews the adjusted findings and provides some policy context that may explain some of the differences in health spending.

9. Tennessee Medicaid’s Health Starts Provider Partnerships

Last year, TennCare Health Starts Initiative, which aims to address the nonmedical needs of Tennessee Medicaid program members, launched the Health Starts Provider Partnerships. In this brief, Nicolette E. Wise and Karly Campbell of TennCare report on how the participating provider practices are integrating support for social risk factors such as conducting screening, implementing consistent referral pathways, and developing processes for member follow-up and data gathering.

10. Racial Equity Statement of Purpose

In this document, the Milbank Memorial Fund acknowledges and apologizes for specific activities that reinforced and perpetuated the systemic racism that contributes to fundamental health inequities in this country. The Racial Equity Statement of Purpose also outlines action steps that reflect the Fund’s commitment to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.