MIPAR and Hilltop Awarded $750,000 Grant for Healthy Homes Research

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a 3-year, $750,000 grant the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR), The Hilltop Institute at UMBC, and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative™ (GHHI) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the reduction in asthma and associated Medicated expenditures resulting from the implementation of GHHI interventions.

GHHI is a national program spearheaded by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. GHHI integrates health-based housing interventions with weatherization to create access to healthy homes for children in low-income neighborhoods.

The UMBC study will focus on GHHI interventions in the homes of low-income families with asthma-diagnosed children in Baltimore City. The project will evaluate the extent to which GHHI interventions impact asthma morbidity and health care utilization costs, school absences, utility costs and work-loss days for parents or caregivers of children with asthma. The study will also examine how different levels of GHHI interventions impact post-intervention resident health and overall non-medical and energy cost savings.

The interdisciplinary research team includes principal investigator David Salkever, public policy/MIPAR; co-investigator Michael Abrams, Hilltop; researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health; and co-principal investigator Ruth Ann Norton, executive director of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning/GHHI.

Hilltop Work on Breast Cancer Screening Presented at International Meeting

Hilltop Senior Research Analyst Michael Abrams was co-author on a presentation made recently at an international meeting focused on schizophrenia research (see citation below). The work demonstrates that among women with serious mental illness who are engaged in Maryland Medicaid, those with substance use disorders are at elevated risk for missing breast cancer screening. By somewhat surprising contrast, women with other mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and depression), were not at elevated risk for missing such screening. For more information contact: mabrams@hilltop.umbc.edu.

Reference: Sullivan K,  Abrams M, Feldman S,  Myers S, McMahon R, Kelly D: “Analysis of Maryland Medicaid Data to Estimate Effects of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders on Breast Cancer Screening Utilization and Breast Cancer Prevalence,” 14th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, April 14, 2013, Orlando, Florida (Poster Presentation).

Hilltop’s Michael T. Abrams Presents Health Care and Health Policy Reseach

Hilltop Institute Senior Research Analyst Michael T. Abrams, MPH, presented his work on substance use disorder (SUD) treatment to the Maryland Addictions Directors Council on on March 11, 2013. The work focuses on coordination of care and cost saving opportunities evident in the federal Affordable Care Act, and traceable within Maryland’s Medicaid program.

On April 10, 2013, Abrams presented a description of three UMBC-centered research projects examining supported employment for persons with serious mental illness at the Behavioral Health Research Conference. The University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry and Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration sponsored the conference. The audience included statewide policymakers and other stakeholders.

Two of the projects are federally funded and direct collaborations between The Hilltop Institute and the UMBC Department of Public Policy, and the third was the dissertation project of Brent Gibbons (Public Policy PhD candidate). All three studies are under the leadership of David Salkever, professor of public policy. To learn more about these projects, contact Abrams at mabrams@hilltop.umbc.edu.

The Hilltop Institute in the Baltimore Business Journal

Hilltop LogoThe Baltimore Business Journal reports that Maryland is pushing back the launch of its small business health exchange by at least three months to allow more time for leaders to prepare the complex IT system involved and to train brokers who will bring businesses to the exchange.

The story cites analysis from The Hilltop Institute at UMBC that approximately 8,500 people are expected to get insurance through the small business exchange in its first year. This compares with the 138,764 people to buy health insurance through the individual exchange by 2014. By 2020, Hilltop expects the small business exchange to grow to around 10,157 people and the individual exchange to grow to 273,583.

UMBC’s Hilltop Shares New Hospital Community Benefit Resource

The Hilltop Institute’s Hospital Community Benefit Program has just released a new online resource: the Community Benefit State Law Profiles.

The profiles are a compilation of hospital community benefit laws and regulations across the United States, analyzed in the context of the Affordable Care Act’s community benefit framework. They include data on tax exemptions that most states make available to nonprofit hospitals. Readers can access this information through a new interactive map, or see a summary table for side-by-side comparisons of different state policies.

A companion issue brief, “Hospital Community Benefits after the ACA: The State Law Landscape” (pdf), presents the profiles’ findings and begins the analysis of each state’s community benefit landscape and its significance in the context of national health reform.

The Hilltop Institute at UMBC is a non-partisan health research organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Hilltop’s Hospital Community Benefit Program is the central resource created specifically for state and local policymakers who seek to ensure that tax-exempt hospital community benefit activities are responsive to pressing community health needs. The program is funded through the Kresge Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Cynthia Woodcock Returns to Hilltop as Executive Director

Cynthia Woodcock (2011)UMBC and The Hilltop Institute are pleased to announce that Cynthia H. Woodcock has been named Hilltop’s next executive director. An MBA by training, Ms. Woodcock’s managerial skills span organizational development, strategic planning, marketing and new business development, system design, and financial management. She has designed and managed research projects and authored issue briefs for the federal government, states, and foundations on the delivery and financing of long-term services and supports (LTSS), chronic disease management, and preventing childhood obesity. Continue reading

Donna Folkemer, Hilltop, Presents at NCSL Fall Forum

Donna Folkemer, Hilltop InstituteHilltop Long-Term Services and Supports Policy and Research Director Donna C. Folkemer, M.A., gave a presentation titled “Improving Care: State Legislative Role in Improving the Quality of Long-Term Services and Supports” at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Fall Forum Pre-Conference Meeting on December 5, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

In her presentation, Folkemer discussed eight things legislators should know about quality. The meeting was attended by legislators and legislative staff from across the country. View the presentation.

Hilltop in the Baltimore Business Journal

The Maryland Health Care Reform Simulation Model report produced by The Hilltop Institute at UMBC continues to get press coverage. The Baltimore Business Journal cites a Hilltop estimate of the number of new jobs to be stimulated by health reform in Maryland in the article, “Medical sector heightens focus on jobless to fill demand” [log-in required]. The article states, “A report by the Hilltop Institute at University of Maryland Baltimore County estimates Maryland employers will add 26,900 jobs by 2020 in response to health reform. Labs need assistants to oversee safety and animal care, and hospitals need people to transport patients between rooms; clean and decontaminate rooms; and talk to patients.”

The Hilltop Institute in “Governing” Magazine

A new article in Governing magazine, titled “How Higher Education Could Save Medicaid,” explores public universities as effective partners in states’ efforts to reform their Medicaid systems to be more fiscally sustainable and prepare for a significant enrollment expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The Hilltop Institute at UMBC offers one of three examples nation-wide for how this partnership can work.

Governing calls Hilltop “one of the primary Medicaid policymaking labs for the state,” noting that it “is responsible for all financial modeling, helped [Maryland] develop its managed care program and works with an actuarial firm to set the capitated rates that health-care providers receive to participate in that program.” The article also notes that Hilltop houses all of Maryland’s Medicaid data and, since 2010, has “conducted the official analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Maryland, which has been a guiding force for the state’s Health Care Reform Coordinating Council.”

Hilltop Presents at Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting

Researchers from The Hilltop Institute at UMBC made several presentations at the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, November 14-18, 2012, in San Diego. The largest was the symposium “Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees: An Examination of New Maryland Enrollees and Pathways to Coverage.” In the session, Hilltop researchers shared the results of their analyses and findings from a background paper about pathways to eligibility for both programs. Continue reading