The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is an endowed operating foundation that publishes The Milbank Quarterly, commissions projects, and convenes state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health.
Original Scholarship State health policy
Jane M. Zhu
Sarah E. Gollust
David T. Grande
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: Consumer engagement early in the process of health care policymaking may improve the effectiveness of program planning and implementation, promote patient-centric care, enhance beneficiary protections, and offer opportunities to improve service delivery. As Medicaid programs grow in scale and complexity, greater consumer input may guide successful program design, but little is known about the extent to which state agencies are currently engaging consumers in the design and implementation of programs and policies, and how this is being done.
Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with 50 Medicaid program leaders across 14 states, employing a stratified purposive sampling method to select state Medicaid programs based on US census region, rurality, Medicaid enrollment size, total population, ACA expansion status, and Medicaid managed care penetration. Interview data were audio-recorded, professionally transcribed, and underwent iterative coding with content and thematic analyses.
Findings: First, we found variation in consumer engagement approaches, ranging from limited and largely symbolic interactions to longer-term deliberative bodies, with some states tailoring their federally mandated standing committees to engage consumers. Second, most states were motivated by pragmatic considerations, such as identifying and overcoming implementation challenges for agency programs. Third, states reported several common facilitators of successful consumer engagement efforts, including leadership commitment, flexible strategies for recruiting and supporting consumers’ participation, and robust community partnerships. All states faced barriers to authentic and sustained engagement.
Conclusions: Sharing best practices across states could help strengthen programs’ engagement efforts, identify opportunities for program improvement reflecting community needs, and increase participation among a population that has traditionally lacked a political voice.
Keywords: Medicaid, state health policy, consumer engagement, program design, vulnerable populations.
Read on Wiley Online Library
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.