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Medicaid Health Home Research Summary

Investigator: Victoria Mayer, MD, Mount Sinai

Purpose: Type 2 diabetes is common in the United States; about 1 in 10 people have the disease. Diabetes can cause devastating health events, such as hospitalizations, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, heart attack, stroke, painful nerve damage (neuropathy), and death. There are many barriers for patients with diabetes that get in the way of controlling risk factors, following recommendations, and getting the care they need from the health system to help prevent these complications; this is especially true for those with other health problems too. Those living in poverty and racial/ethnic minorities are more likely to have complications from diabetes, and less likely to get recommended care from health systems.

In order to improve care and outcomes for people with complex medical problems, several states have started the Medicaid Health Home (HH) program, including New York State (NYS) in 2012. This program is for people with two or more chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, people with HIV, and people with a serious mental health condition. HHs are meant to manage and coordinate care, by helping health care providers, social service agencies, community-based organizations, and health insurance plans work together. Similar programs have been shown, on a smaller scale, to improve some results for patients with diabetes, such as lab tests indicating level of diabetes control. Studies have not yet looked at how a large program like HHs impacts the way healthcare is delivered and impacts the health events that matter most to patients with diabetes. Also, few studies include stakeholders on the research team, even though they stand to benefit the most from such programs, and have the experience needed as patients, clinicians, advocates, and administrators to guide efforts.