Better Medicaid

A new study points the way toward better value and patient health from the nation’s Medicaid program.

New Mexico’s Centennial Rewards (CR) Program has announced the results of its popular Step-Up Walking Challenge.

The results indicate a correlation between participation in the program and healthier behaviors, including increased colorectal screenings, cervical cancer screenings and mammograms (19%, 27% and 45%, respectively).

In addition, participation is linked to reductions in inpatient (IP) and emergency room (ER) visits (66% and 20% fewer, respectively), which reduced the total medical spend of participants by over $5 million.

Nearly 80,000 Medicaid recipients in New Mexico ages 10 and older have participated in the Step-Up Challenge since January 2015.

Members can earn $25 in reward points for successfully completing the 21-day challenge and redeem those points for healthy items from the Centennial Rewards Catalog.

“Centennial Care members have logged over 8 billion steps through this program—that’s enough steps to go 150 times around the Earth,” said Nancy Smith-Leslie, New Mexico Medicaid Director. “The results showing higher preventive screenings and lower IP and ER are encouraging.”

Step-Up is one of several healthy activities promoted through the CR Program. Members can also earn reward points for dental visits, refilling their asthma medication, completing diabetes management tests, and more.

CR, administered by Finity, a Portland-based health intelligence company, is the first portable engagement and incentive system for a statewide Medicaid program.

Since its inception in January 2014, CR has achieved over 70% program participation, compliance improvement across all conditions and over $80 million in cost savings.

Cost savings are calculated using a risk-adjusted retrospective case control cohort methodology. This compares the total medical spend for participants to that of nonparticipants, who are matched on age, gender, chronic conditions, risk score and other factors.

States and health plans around the country are studying the member engagement and incentive methodology used by CR, and are hoping to duplicate the program’s success. Results from the third year of the program will be published later this year.

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