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Menges Group 5 Slide Series: New COVID Test, Case, and Death Dynamics, August 1 – 15 versus September 1 – 15

This edition of the 5 Slide Series tabulates new COVID tests, cases, and deaths per 100,000 population at a state level to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted September 1- 15 versus August 1 – 15. Nationally, trends have mostly moved in a favorable direction. During the first half of September relative to the first half of August, confirmed cases and deaths have decreased by more than 20%, and positive tests as a percent of all administered tests during each timeframe have decreased from 7.1% to 5.2%. However, several states have trended in an adverse direction and reported an increase in new cases, deaths, and positive tests September 1 – 15 versus August 1 – 15.

5 Slide Series_New COVID Tests, Cases, and Deaths_Sept 18

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Episode#7: Interview with Elena Nicolella

Guest bio

Elena is the Executive Director of the New England States Consortium Systems Organization (NESCSO), where she has served for the past 4 years. Before her time at NESCSO, she played various roles in Rhode Island HHS agencies, including Medicaid Director.

Highlights from this episode

  1. Defining interoperability in terms of the CMS final rule.
  2. Defining what data the rule requires to be shared by Medicaid agencies, especially around adjudicated encounters/claims
  3. Member identity verification for data exchange in third party applications
  4. Limits to states’ authority over whether to provide data to 3rd Party Apps, or what happens after the provide it
  5. Expected member interest / appetite for more access to data.
  6. Impact of expiration of the HITECH Act funding
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Episode#6: Interview with Ed Cantwell

Guest bio

Ed is the President and CEO at the Center for Medical Interoperability. He has served in that role for the past seven years. Before that, he has been in executive leadership in multiple technology companies, particularly in the wireless and telecom industry. He also spent 11 years in the United States Air Force.

Highlights from this episode

  1. The critical goals of building a trust platform and data standardization; HIPAA as barrier to trusted health system
  2. 21st century cures act use of open API / forcing more exchange
  3. Differences between federal policy approach and industry association approach to trusted exchange and data standards
  4. Overlap of CMS/ONC efforts
  5. How meaningful use morphs into interoperability
  6. Issues with proprietary data and interoperability; information blocking as a concept
  7. How pressures on providers from various regulatory bodies makes it hard for providers to embrace yet another paradigm change
  8. The idea of surveillance capitalism
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Menges Group 5 Slide Series: Recent COVID-19 Death Rate Trends at State and County Levels

Today’s edition of the 5 Slide Series investigates recent COVID-19 death trends in the United States at both state and county levels. Nationally, the number of new COVID deaths decreased by 19% September 3 – 10 as compared to the previous week (August 27 – September 3). Despite this national decrease, five states (Hawaii, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, and Tennessee) reported that more than 15% of their cumulative COVID deaths occurred during the past two weeks. We also identified counties with more than 100,000 residents that reported the largest per capita death rates as of September 10 and over the past week.

5 Slide Series_Assessment of Recent State COVID Deaths_Sept 14

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Menges Group 5 Slide Series: Monthly International COVID Death Rate Progression & State-Level New Cases and Deaths

This week’s edition compares the monthly progression of the COVID death rate in the United States to other countries that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. The United States currently ranks 9th highest regarding the COVID death rate per 100,000 population, and the USA’s rate is five times higher than the worldwide figure. Unlike any other country among the ten hardest-hit nations, new monthly COVID deaths in the USA increased from June to July and then increased further from July to August.
 
We also show monthly new COVID cases and deaths per 100,000 by state, presenting March through August and ranking the states on these statistical measures. 18 states experienced their highest number of new COVID deaths during August. Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas had the highest per capita death rates in August. Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey had the lowest per capita death rate in August.
 

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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Jodi Patton

Jodi Patton is the Head of Payer Operations at Hazel Health  

Check out her LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

I am currently working in the healthcare delivery segment, providing direct pediatric physical health services via telehealth in both school and at home. My primary focus is on the collaboration with Medicaid payers to support Medicaid eligible populations in accessing care where they feel safe and supported and to close gaps in care. We work to provide a seamless integration between children, the healthcare system and education by adapting and working to find solutions.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I have been working both directly and indirectly in the Medicaid industry for the past 6years. My initial experience with the Medicaid was as a case manager for both the geriatric population and for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was able to experience first-hand the complexity of delivering care within these populations and eventually worked at Nevada Medicaid. I started my tenure at the State as a policy and program specialist within medical programs and eventually served as Chief. During my tenure, I was able to successfully work with CMS to change our State Plan for free care reversal and tribal FQHCs. This work was incredibly rewarding and working with Hazel has allowed me to have the opportunity to work on the implementation side of the school-based policies.

What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

I am passionate about bringing equity in healthcare and education to children. I am so fortunate that my career is aligned with my passion. I grew up in an impoverished area in Las Vegas and I have witnessed first had the impact that this can have. As leaders in the industry, we must truly keep a keen eye on how to make the lives of our future generation better.

What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

Post pandemic, my bucket list will be filled with travel and new experiences. Since that is not feasible at the moment, I have been focused on traversing as many trails as possible around Lake Tahoe where I reside.  There are a lot of incredible hikes, lakes and wildflowers to see in the area and I don’t want to look back with regret that I didn’t make the most of them. I think right now there is so much value in finding pleasure in the moment and slowing down just a bit.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

Most of all, I enjoy my family. I have four incredible daughters and a granddaughter. They bring so much joy and insight into my life. Time spent with them is invaluable. I also really enjoy being active and I read all the time. I like my personal time to be a place of growth and exploration.

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

That’s a tie between Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks. I admire Maya’s clarity of thought and inspiration that she brings to the world. Rosa had so much courage in the face of adversity and made such an impact during the civil rights movement. Both women came up through adversity and made changes to the world. They are both heroes.

What is your favorite junk food?

Ice cream. Hands down. I love all of the unique flavors and artisanal approaches. Growing up in an Italian family, spumoni would be my all-time favorite. I loved going to Thrifty as a kid and getting the cool cylindrical shaped scoops of butter pecan. We didn’t have much money growing up, but we could always scrape out the15 cents for a scoop. These are such strong, happy memories from my childhood. I just always remember laughing and life feeling perfect in these moments.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I am incredibly proud of my four daughters. They provide more meaning and value in my life than anything. I continually try to carve a path so that they will have amazing futures. I just finished my second master’s degree in six years, both with a 4.0 and honors and working full time. I have to admit I am proud of that accomplish as well. Education and knowledge are so incredibly valuable and a gift not to be taken lightly.

For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

Honestly, I don’t want any mulligans. I have learned more from my mistakes even when they are painful and I wish there was a do-over. It’s the ability to be scrappy, pull it together and move forward that builds your character and resistance. It’s all about progress. I gave up trying to be perfect a long time ago.

What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

The importance of Medicaid is more critical and even more complex than ever right now. We are going to see a surge in enrollments amidst budget cuts and changing methods of healthcare delivery. We are going to have to be thoughtful in our approaches and work together in truly addressing the needs of our communities. This is not a time of self-serving interests, but to be givers and not takers. We will need to be mindful in our approaches of supporting healthcare business practices while ensuring that recipients are able to receive the care they need. We will need to move and change quickly but with intelligence and think outside of the standard ways of delivering Medicaid services. 

Know someone in the space who’s doing great work and is an all around interesting person?

Send a note to clay@mostlymedicaid.com to nominate them for the next round of Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Interviews.

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Menges Group 5 Slide Series: Recent Progression of COVID-19 Deaths

Today’s edition tracks recent COVID deaths in the USA in two ways.  The national weekly progression has been tabulated across the past two months, showing a decrease of 6% this past week versus the previous week.  However, new daily deaths remain near 1,000.  We also show daily COVID deaths by state comparing June, July, and August.  In 26 states across these months, the average number of daily deaths has been highest in August.

 

COVID 5 Slide Aug 28 Edition — Recent Death Progression

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Menges Group 5 Slide Series: Monthly Progression of Disparities in COVID Deaths by Race and Age Cohort and COVID Deaths Attributable to Nursing Home Residents

This week, we’ve revisited disparities in COVID deaths by race and by age cohort, showing monthly progressions during the pandemic.  An excerpted table from this edition is pasted below.  We’ve also assessed the proportion of all COVID deaths attributable to nursing home residents and how this has evolved over time.

COVID 5 Slide Series_Monthly Progression of Disparities in COVID Deaths by Race and Age Cohort and COVID Deaths Attributable to Nursing Home Residents_Aug21

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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Robert Darzynkiewicz

Robert Darzynkiewicz is the Chief Medical Officer at Hazel Health  

Check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

Telemedicine. Specifically school based telemedicine. 

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

Since my training started in the Bronx. 21 years.

What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

To leverage technology to provide quality care to families who need it the most. 

What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

Go fly fishing in the South Pacific Ocean.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

Spending it with my family. I have 2 daughters, one going to college this year and another one close behind. I am treasuring the few years I have before they leave our home. 

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Martin Luther King Jr. A man who changed civil rights through peaceful disobedience. That took truly amazing courage.  

What is your favorite junk food?

Nachos with all the toppings and extra jalapeños. It doesn’t qualify as ‘junk’ but I can’t validate it as an everyday meal.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Raising 2 smart, motivated young women who want to make their community better. 

For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

US Swimming Olympic Trials in1996. I was seeded 4th going into finals and let the pressure of the moment get to me. I wish I just enjoyed the moment instead of worrying about failure. 

What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

Discovering what high quality of care was delivered during the pandemic. How did telemedicine help Medicaid patients. What are the most glaring social injustices and medical gaps that were exposed for Medicaid patients and their families.

Know someone in the space who’s doing great work and is an all around interesting person?

Send a note to clay@mostlymedicaid.com to nominate them for the next round of Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Interviews.

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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Stuart Rabinowitz

Stuart Rabinowitz is the Chief Technology Officer at ARC Healthcare

Check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

Here at ARC Healthcare, we focus on supporting the payers and providers, in addition to building robust and expandable physician networks. We help to build networks and identify areas in need of physicians. We then define them, vet them, get them onboard, and then we negotiate with them. We ensure that the Payers (i.e., Medicaid) and patients have access to adequate and quality care.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I have been in healthcare, including some Medicaid projects, for 15+ years.

What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

My biggest passion is enabling patients and providers with the right information to make good sound decisions and to understand those decisions. Another passion is resolving the information disparity.  The information disparity occur when patients and providers do not have the relevant information necessary to make healthcare decisions.

What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

Helping patients and providers understand diagnoses and treatment options. Therefore, having the right information to make the right healthcare decision is necessary.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

I play the bagpipes and like to spend time outdoors with our dogs.

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Copernicus. He was one of the first scientists to use measurable data to argue a controversial point – the world isn’t flat.

What is your favorite junk food?

Oh, that’s easy! Jellybeans and red licorice.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

My three children. I am proud of a bunch of things, but I think I’m most proud of my children.

For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

I don’t look back. I always reflect on mistakes and whatever, but there is nothing that I would say I would go back and re-do. I would learn from it and try not to repeat that mistake.

What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

I think there is going to be a massive issue of how to provide medical coverage and provide services post-COVID-19. We are seeing lots of folks being laid off and losing their health insurance, so, naturally, you are going to see spikes in Medicaid enrollment. The primary question is, how do you provide coverage to those new enrollees, and then how do you ensure access to care? How will we ensure that our Medicaid networks can handle the increase of new enrollees and provide the quality of care that new enrollees are going to need?

Know someone in the space who’s doing great work and is an all around interesting person?

Send a note to clay@mostlymedicaid.com to nominate them for the next round of Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Interviews.