The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
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 is a nonpartisan foundation focused on improving the health of communities and entire populations.
State Innovation Models
Regina I. Rutledge
Melissa A. Romaire
Catherine L. Hersey
William J. Parish
Stephanie M. Kissam
Jennifer T. Lloyd
Dec 23, 2021
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
• Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont leveraged State Innovation Model awards to implement Medicaid accountable care organizations (ACOs). Flexibility in model design, ability to build on existing reforms, provision of technical assistance to providers, and access to feedback data all facilitated ACO development. Challenges included sustainability of transformation efforts and the integration of health care and social service providers. • Early estimates showed promising improvements in hospital-related utilization and Vermont was able to reduce or slow the growth of Medicaid costs. • These states are sustaining Medicaid ACOs owing in part to provider support and early successes in generating shared savings. The states are modifying their ACOs to include greater accountability and financial risk.
Context: As state Medicaid programs consider alternative payment models (APMs), many are choosing accountable care organizations (ACOs) as a way to improve health outcomes, coordinate care, and reduce expenditures. Four states (Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont) leveraged State Innovation Model awards to create or expand Medicaid ACOs.
Methods: We used a mixed-methods design to assess achievements and challenges with ACO implementation and the impact of Medicaid ACOs on health care utilization, quality, and expenditures in three states. We integrated findings from key informant interviews, focus groups, document review, and difference-in-difference analyses using data from Medicaid claims and an all-payer claims database.
Findings: States built their Medicaid ACOs on existing health care reforms and infrastructure. Facilitators of implementation included allowing flexibility in design and implementation, targeting technical assistance, and making clinical, cost, and use data readily available to providers. Barriers included provider concerns about their ability to influence patient behavior, sustainability of provider practice transformation efforts when shared savings are reinvested into the health system and not shared with participating clinicians, and limited integration between health care and social service providers.Medicaid ACOs were associated with some improvements in use, quality, and expenditures, including statistically significant reductions in emergency department visits. Only Vermont’s ACO demonstrated slower growth in total Medicaid expenditures.
Conclusions: Four states demonstrated that adoption of ACOs for Medicaid beneficiaries was both possible and, for three states, associated with some improvements in care. States revised these models over time to address stakeholder concerns, increase provider participation, and enable some providers to accept financial risk for Medicaid patients. Lessons learned from these early efforts can inform the design and implementation of APMs in other Medicaid programs.
Keywords: Medicaid, alternative payment models, state innovation models, accountable care organizations.
Read on Wiley Online Library
DOI: 10.1111/1468.0009-12386 Published in 2019
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.