Research Methods: Policy Analysis

Mental Health Status and Access to Health Care Services for Adults in Maine

Abstract: 

Maine people with poor mental health describe significant challenges with affordability and access to health care.  A new report released by the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) and the University of Southern Maine, Mental Health Status and Access to Health Care Service for Adults in Maine, describes how adults 18 and older in Maine who report depression and poor mental health have many barriers to getting health care. These results have important implications for planning in a time when major changes in health insurance coverage are expected.

Analyzing data from the ongoing federal/state public health survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Dr. Ziller found that adults in Maine experiencing 14 or more mental health bad days are less likely to have a regular health care provider and more likely to report delays in getting needed health care services (for reasons other than cost). Poorer mental health status was associated with higher rates of foregoing needed medical care because of costs; 25 percent those adults experiencing 14 or more mental health bad days reported they were unable to access needed care from a doctor due to cost compared to 7 percent of adults with no mental health bad days.

MeHAF support allows inclusion of additional questions about access to insurance and health care services in the state’s BRFSS, which surveys a random sample of Maine people throughout the year.  Results from the compiled 2012, 2013 and 2014 surveys are included in the report.

 

For more information on the study design and methodology, please contact Erika Ziller, PhD, (207) 780-4615.

Media contact: Barbara Leonard, President & CEO, (207) 620.8266 x102

Suggested Citation: Ziller EC, Leonard B. Mental Health Status and Access to Health Care Services for Adults in Maine. Augusta, ME: Maine Health Access Foundation and USM Muskie School; February, 2017.

The brief is also available for download on the Maine Health Access Foundation website.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
February 2, 2017
URL: 
http://www.mehaf.org/content/uploaded/images/reports-research/MeHAF_MH-Status-Access-Brief-Feb2017_FINAL.pdf

The Role of Public versus Private Health Insurance in Ensuring Health Care Access & Affordability for Low-Income Rural Children

Abstract: 

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)have played a critical role in ensuring access to health insurance coverage among children and have been particularly important sources of coverage for rural children. More than 35.5 million children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in September 2016—accounting for just over half of total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment. Given the large proportion of rural children covered by public insurance, it is critically important to understand the role of public health insurance in ensuring access to affordable health care for rural children. Using data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, researchers from the Maine Rural Health Research Center examined rural-urban differences in children’s access to care, and their families’ perceived affordability of that care among those enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP and those covered by private insurance. Findings indicate that public coverage supported access to care for low-income rural children and low-income rural families reported fewer problems paying medical bills for their child’s care. CHIP reauthorization in 2017 is an important step in protecting low-income rural children’s access to affordable health care. In the event that CHIP funding ends, even those families that successfully transition to private health insurance are likely to face greater challenges in affording care for their children. Rural children who gain coverage through Qualified Health Plans in the Marketplace or who move into employer-sponsored insurance after losing public insurance will likely experience higher out-of-pocket costs compared with their experience in CHIP.

 

For more information on this study, please contact Erika Ziller, PhD

Suggested Citation: Ziller EC, Lenardson JD, Burgess AR. The Role of Public Versus Private Health Insurance in Ensuring Health Care Access & Affordability for Low-Income Rural Children. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center; January, 2017. PB-67.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
January 20, 2017
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/Public-vs-Private-Insurance-Low-Income-Rural-Children.pdf

Innovations in Rural Health System Development

Abstract: 

cover photo for Innovations in Rural Health System Development

In an effort to inform and promote local discussions and strategic planning for transforming health and healthcare in rural communities, the Maine Health Access Foundation commissioned the Maine Rural Health Research Center to develop five issue briefs profiling innovative approaches to rural health. The briefs present innovative approaches from Maine and other parts of the United States to the provision of behavioral health services, recruitment and retention of health care workers, service delivery, governance, and health care payment and financing in rural areas. Examples of innovative approaches profiled in the briefs include: the use of new health workers such as community paramedics and community health workers, rural-focused medical education models, alternative models of emergency care, telehealth, care coordination initiatives, Accountable Care Organizations, and Medicaid Accountable Communities.

The aim of these briefs is to assist rural communities and regions to proactively envision and develop strategies for transforming rural health in the state. In preparing these briefs the Maine Rural Health Research Center consulted experts, interviewed key informants, and reviewed the professional and research literature to find robust and innovative models and strategies that could be replicated in rural Maine.

Suggested citations:

Burgess A, Coburn A. Innovations in Rural Health System Development: Maine’s Behavioral Health Services. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, MaineRural Health Research Center; November 2016.

Burgess A, Coburn A. Innovations in Rural Health System Development: Recruiting and Retaining Maine’s Health Care Workforce. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine,Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center; November 2016.

Burgess A, Coburn A. Innovations in Rural Health System Development: Service Delivery Advances in Care Coordination, Emergency Care, and Telehealth. Portland, ME: University of SouthernMaine. Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center; November 2016.

Kahn-Troster S, Coburn A. Innovations in Rural Health System Development: Governance. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine RuralHealth Research Center; November 2016.

Kahn-Troster S, Coburn A. Innovations in Rural Health System Development: Moving Rural Health Systems to Value-Based Payment. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center; November 2016.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
November 10, 2016
URL: 
http://www.mehaf.org/learning-resources/reports-research/

Access to Health Care Services for Adults in Maine

Abstract: 

On October 17, 2016, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) released a new research brief developed with the University of Southern Maine that found significant inequality in the ability of people in Maine to access quality health care. "Our research shows the devastating inequalities in whether people in Maine can get health care,” said Barbara Leonard, president and CEO of the MeHAF. “If you’re young, have a low-income, lack higher education or are a racial or ethnic minority, health care maybe a luxury that you struggle to afford. Many are just one health care crisis away from financial hardship. To make improvements that help people to live better, healthy and happier lives, we have to change the way we approach health care delivery, especially for those facing the greatest barriers to care.”

The authors, Barbara Leonard from MeHAF and Erika Ziller from the USM Muskie School, found that income, age and education are all closely associated with Maine people’s ability to receive appropriate and timely health care. Specifically, they found that among Maine adults 18 and older, those with family incomes less than $25,000 a year, young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with less education are much more likely to:

  • Delay seeking health care even when sick;
  • Be unable to afford prescription medication;
  • Lack access to preventative check-ups and screenings or have a regular health care provider.

In addition, their analysis also found that Maine people, of all income groups, have reported difficulties in paying medical costs.

The brief is available for download on the Maine Health Access Foundation website.

FMI: Barbara Leonard, (207) 620-8266, ext. 102 or Erika Ziller, (207) 780-4615

Suggested Citation: Ziller E, Leonard B. Access to Health Care Services for Adults in Maine. Augusta, ME: Maine Health Access Foundation and USM Muskie School; October, 2016.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
October 17, 2016
URL: 
http://www.mehaf.org/content/uploaded/images/reports-research/Access%20to%20Health%20Care%20Brief_Oct%202016.pdf

Maine Pediatric and Family Practice Survey Chartbook

Abstract: 

In February 2010, Maine and Vermont were awarded a five-year demonstration grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve care quality for children who are insured by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In Maine, Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) is a public/private collaboration of health systems, pediatric and family practices, associations, state programs and consumers that is intended to 1) select and promote a set of child health quality measures; 2) build a health in­formation technology infrastructure to support the reporting and use of quality information; and 3) transform the delivery of health services for children using a patient centered medical home model.

As part of the IHOC initiative, the University of Southern Maine surveyed pediatric and family practices about how they use data, clinical guidelines and office systems to monitor and improve children’s healthcare quality. The purpose of the survey is to provide baseline information about quality improvement activities in primary care practices serving children in Maine. Survey data was used to inform IHOC activities and to monitor changes over time. The web-based survey was conducted in the winter of 2011-2012 and sent to practice man­agers at a sample of 168 practice sites, of which 64% responded. Responding practices represent more than one-quarter of family practices and nearly two thirds of all pediatric practices in the state. Together these prac­tices served more than half (57%) of all children insured by MaineCare, or nearly 68,000 MaineCare children. Respondents represent a broad distribution of practices across regions of the state and practice size and own­ership, and include nearly two-thirds of practices participating in IHOC’s First STEPS learning collaborative.

This report summarizes the results of the initial survey and assesses quality improvement activities in pediatric and family practices at baseline. In 2014, a follow-up survey will be conducted to assess how quality improve­ment has changed in child-serving practices statewide over time and within specific types of practices (e.g. those participating in First STEPS).

Key issues from the baseline survey results include the following:

  • Medical Home Recognition and Practice-Level Quality Improvement
  • Data Systems Used to Track and Monitor Care
  • Use of Electronic Health Records for Quality Improvement
  • Awareness and Use of Financial Incentives and Data for Quality Improvement from Payers

A follow-up survey was fielded during the final year of the initiative in 2014.The practice survey was designed to assess changes in knowledge and awareness of: child health quality measures; evidence-based clinical guidelines; recommended preventive screening tools; office systems and procedures; and the degree to which Maine practices use standardized protocols to monitor and improve children’s healthcare quality. Results of that survey can be viewed or downloaded here: Child Health Quality in Maine: Practice Survey Report 2011-2014

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
January 29, 2011
URL: 
http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/pdfs_doc/children_IHOC/Provider%20Survey%20final.pdf

Developing Program Performance Measures for Rural Emergency Medical Services

Abstract: 

 Prehospital Emergency Care

Developing Program Performance Measures for Rural Emergency Medical Services

Authors: John Gale, MS; Andrew Coburn, PhD; Karen Pearson, MLIS, MA; Zach Croll, BA; George Shaler, MPH

University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service

Background: The development of measures to monitor and evaluate the performance and quality of emergency medical services (EMS) systems has been a focus of attention for many years. The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program), established by Congress in 1997, provides grants to states to implement initiatives to strengthen rural healthcare delivery systems, including better integration of EMS into those systems of care.

Objective: Building on national efforts to develop EMS performance measures, we sought to identify measures relevant to the rural communities and hospitals supported by the Flex Program. The measures are intended for use in monitoring rural EMS performance at the community level as well as for use by State Flex Programs and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to demonstrate the impact of the Flex Program.

Methods: To evaluate the performance of EMS in rural communities, we conducted a literature search, reviewed research on performance measures conducted by key EMS organizations, and recruited a panel of EMS experts to identify and rate rurally-relevant EMS performance measures as well as emergent protocols for episodes of trauma, ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), and stroke. The rated measures were assessed for inclusion in the final measure set.

Results: The Expert Panel identified 17 program performance measures to support EMS services in rural communities. These measures monitor the capacity of local agencies to collect and report quality and financial data, use the data to improve agency performance, and train rural EMS employees in emergent protocols for all age groups.

Conclusion: The system of care approach on which this rural EMS measures set is based can support the FORHP's goal of better focusing State Flex Program activity to improve program impact on the performance of rural EMS services in the areas of financial viability, quality improvement, and local/regional health system performance. [Journal abstract provided by authors]

Suggested citation:

Gale, J., Coburn, A., Pearson, K., Croll, Z., & Shaler, G. (2016). Developing program performance measures for rural emergency medical services. Prehospital Emergency Care, 1-9. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2016.1218978

FMI: John Gale

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
September 9, 2016
URL: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10903127.2016.1218978

Understanding the Business Case for Telemental Health in Rural Communities

Abstract: 

Telemental health has been promoted to address long-standing access barriers to rural mental health care, including low supply and long travel distances. Examples of rural telemental health programs are common; there is a less clear picture of how widely implemented these programs are, their organization, staffing, and services. There is also a need to understand the business case for these programs and assess whether and how they might realize their promise. To address these gaps, a national study was conducted of rural telemental health programs including an online survey of 53 programs and follow-up interviews with 23 programs. This article describes the current landscape and characteristics of these programs and then examines their business case. Can rural telemental health programs be sustained within current delivery systems and reimbursement structures? This question is explored in four areas: need and demand, infrastructure and workforce, funding and reimbursement, and organizational fit and alignment. [Journal Abstract]

Suggested Citation: Lambert, D., Gale, J., Hartley, D., Croll, Z., & Hansen, A. (2015). Understanding the business case for telemental health in rural communities. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. doi: 10.1007/s11414-015-9490-7 [epub ahead of print].

FMI: John Gale

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
December 22, 2015

Exploring the Business Case for Children's Telebehavioral Health

Abstract: 

This brief, authored by John Gale, M.S. and David Lambert, Ph.D. from the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center, explores terminology, reimbursement and business issues, and provides examples from the field in the development of telebehavioral health services. In the first section, the authors place children’s telebehavioral health within the context and demands of today’s rural healthcare system, where the majority of children’s telebehavioral health services are delivered. They then describe three examples of the use of telebehavioral health to serve children, adolescents, and families in rural communities. The brief concludes by exploring the business case for telebehavioral health including the issues and challenges of service delivery, coordination, and financing. This brief is informed by a national study of telemental health (serving children, adults, and older persons) in rural health systems conducted by the authors and updated to reflect the latest information on three case examples.

For more information, please contact John Gale at john.gale@maine.edu

Suggested citation: Gale J, Lambert D. Exploring the Business Case for Children's Telebehavioral Health. Washington, DC: The Technical Assistance Network for Children's Behavioral Health, The Institute for Innovation & Implementation; March, 2015. Brief.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
March 2, 2015

Gender-Responsive Policy Development in Corrections: What We Know and Roadmaps for Change

Abstract: 

Erica King, research staff at the Muskie School, co-authored this policy bulletin for the US Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections with Jillian Foley, a recent Muskie School graduate.

Lack of gender-informed policy creates challenges for correctional practitioners. When there is a gap between training that is evidence-based and gender-informed and what is written in policy, staff may find themselves hindered in their attempts to work toward establishing a gender-responsive environment. This policy bulletin, released in February 2015 and based on survey data and focus groups with women, is an initial step to determine the existence of gender-informed policy within correctional agencies. The findings of this bulletin provide an overview of the current state of gender-responsive policies for women and define a focus for future research, training and technical assistance in the effort to create a more effective, and efficient correctional approach for women offenders.

Suggested Citation: King E, Foley J. Gender-Responsive Policy Development in Corrections: What We Know and Roadmaps for Change. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections; October, 2014.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
October 1, 2014
Author: 
URL: 
https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/029747.pdf

Early Lessons Learned in Implementing MaineCare Health Homes

Abstract: 

This Issue Brief, authored by researchers at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School, highlights key lessons learned from the first year of implementation of the MaineCare Health Homes Initiative.

Key Findings:

  • MaineCare's Health Homes Initiative has expanded Maine's capacity for chronic care management in primary care practices and community care teams (CCTs);
  • CCTs provide valuable additional support to patients of Health Homes, including home visits and social supports in the community;
  • Flexibility in program design allowed for wide variation of service delivery models within CCTs;
  • Three percent of Health Home members were referred to CCTs by the end of the first year, but overall practice referral rates varied by CCT--from 1% to 7% of Health Home members within their associated practices.

To view or download the full study, click here

To view or download the Issue Brief on enrollment in the first year of MaineCare Health Homes implementation, click here

Suggested Citation: Fox K, Gray C, Rosingana K. Early Lessons Learned in Implementing MaineCare Health Homes. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; September, 2014.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
September 30, 2014
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/PHHP/MaineCare-HealthHomes-Implementation.pdf

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