Published on Insider

PRINCETON, New Jersey — February 7, 2019 — The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute today officially launched a new policy center committed to advancing the quality and cost-effectiveness of the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health coverage for nearly 1.8 million of the State’s residents, including forty percent of the State’s children.

The Medicaid Policy Center (MPC) will deliver independent research, analysis and policy solutions to improve health outcomes while also controlling costs — and will work in partnership with other organizations and the state government agencies that operate the New Jersey Medicaid program, including the Department of Human Services – Office of Medicaid Innovation. This new DHS Office provides a unique platform for collaboration with the MPC to improve the quality, delivery, and cost of care. Common focus areas include developing alternative payment models and purchasing strategies that drive improvement in patient outcomes.

The MPC is funded by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation.

“The Department is delighted that the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, with support from The Nicholson Foundation, is creating a dedicated Medicaid Policy Center to help bring together thought leaders and experts to inform our shared goal of strengthening and improving the quality and value of New Jersey’s Medicaid program,” said New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “New Jersey Medicaid strives each day to provide the highest quality care for millions of our residents, and together with our newly created Medicaid Innovation Office, this new Medicaid Policy Center will create opportunities for us to collaborate and advance the best health care outcomes.”

The new MPC will benefit from the Quality Institute’s tradition of bringing people from all corners of health care together to collaborate on innovative solutions to improve the state’s health care system.

“The Medicaid Policy Center will serve as a resource to both public and private institutions,” said Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of the Quality Institute. “Through our research and with the support of our members and other stakeholders, we will craft solutions to be considered, developed and implemented into the state’s Medicaid program.”

New Jersey’s Medicaid program has a $17 billion annual budget, financed by Federal and State government, and accounts for nearly twenty percent of New Jersey’s state budget. To improve the program, the MPC will research health care delivery innovations, including patient-centered models that support and reward providers for good outcomes.

“Medicaid is a vital part of New Jersey’s healthcare safety net,” said Arturo Brito, Executive Director of The Nicholson Foundation. “By bringing to light the best policy ideas and research, the policy center will help New Jersey make the structural changes necessary to strengthen and sustain Medicaid for the future.”

The MPC is one of a handful of independent research centers around the nation exploring ways to improve Medicaid in partnership with governments.

Quality Institute staff members Matt D’Oria, a former New Jersey Deputy Health Commissioner, and Kate Shamszad, who served as Clinical Director of Child Life and Integrative Care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, will lead the center.

An Advisory Committee of select national health and social science innovators will offer support and counsel. The committee includes Niall Brennan, MPP, President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute; Dianne Hasselman, Deputy Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors; Meg Murray, CEO, Association of Community Affiliated Plans; Chad Shearer, Vice President for Policy, Medicaid Institute at United Hospital Fund of New York; Kathleen Noonan, CEO of the Camden Coalition; Dr. Pauline Chen, a physician who has written about end-of-life care issues; and Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, Founder and President, The KinderSmile Foundation.

“The Medicaid program is essential to so many children, seniors and families in our state, and it’s a significant part of the state budget,” D’Oria said. “We are eager to support state decision makers and state officials as they work to improve the state’s Medicaid program for people today — and also to strengthen the program for the future.”

About the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute is the only independent, nonpartisan, multi-stakeholder advocate for health care quality in New Jersey. The Quality Institute’s mission is to undertake projects and promote system changes that ensure that quality, safety, accountability, and cost-containment are closely linked to the delivery of health care services in New Jersey.