Disparities & Equity

Advancing Health Equity

The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI), University of Chicago, and Center for Healthcare Strategies (CHCS) have partnered on an exciting three-year initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Advancing Health Equity:  Leading Care Payment & Systems Transformation."  The project is working to identify best practices, innovative initiatives, and policy recommendations for integrating payment and healthcare delivery reforms that seek to eliminate health and healthcare disparities and achieve equity by partnering Medicaid managed care organizations directly with state Medicaid agencies and healthcare provider organizations.

Project Components

The three-year project, beginning in 2019, consists of four key components, including:

1) National Advisory and Policy Development Committee that directs the work of the entire project and that includes a policy focused subcommittee tasked with developing specific policy and practice recommendations;

2) Learning Collaborative of seven teams comprised of a Medicaid managed care organization, the State Medicaid program in at least one market in which the health plans operates, and one or more healthcare provider organizations or systems contracted by the plan within that market;

3) State Medicaid Engagement and Technical Assistance Program, and

4) Rapid identification and dissemination of key findings. In consultation with members of IMI’s Data & Research (D & R) and Dissemination & Implementation (D & I) Committees, the 3-year initiative provides an opportunity for Medicaid health plans to be engaged in the national efforts of the project.

Learning Collaborative

The Learning Collaborative offers technical assistance and capacity building services to affiliated state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, and health care delivery organizations to help them collectively design and implement integrated payment and health care delivery reform interventions to advance health equity while also engaging Medicaid enrollees, their families, and caregivers.

The seven teams attended a series of webinars in 2019 to assist them with selecting and developing their interventions. In 2020, the AHE Learning Collaborative is guiding each team through technical assistance to achieve their health equity goals through alignment of the teams' resources and strategies.  Emphasis is being placed upon engaging Medicaid members, sustaining the project, and designing and implementing payment reforms that support and incentivize equity-focused healthcare delivery redesign at the healthcare delivery organizations within the context of COVID-19.

The Learning Collaborative aims to discover best practice and policy recommendations for integrating payment and healthcare delivery reforms to advance health equity by eliminating health and healthcare disparities. 

Project Teams

Through a competitive, national application process, seven teams comprised of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid health plans, and health care delivery organizations in the states of Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, were chosen to participate in the Advancing Health Equity Learning Collaborative.  


Project Focus: Disparities in access to care for Black children.

Team Members:  Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical AssistanceAmeriHealth Caritas Delaware, and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children


Project Focus: Health disparities related to housing.

Team Members:  HealthChoice IllinoisCountyCare Health PlanCook County Health, and Access Community Health Network


Project Focus: Disparities in behavioral health and substance-use disorder for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Team Members:  MaineCareCommunity Care Partnership of MaineAroostook Mental Health Services, Inc.Pines Health Services, and The Maine Primary Care Association

New Jersey

Project Focus: Disparity in diagnosis of mood disorders postpartum for Black womxn.

Team Members:  The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health ServicesHorizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New JerseyRWJBarnabas Health SystemNewark Beth Israel Medical Center, and Jersey City Medical Center


Project Focus: Racial/ethnic disparities in sexually transmitted infection rates for adolescents.

Team Members:  Pennsylvania Office of Medical Assistance ProgramsGateway Health PlanAllegheny Health Network, and North Side Christian Health Center


Project Focus: Disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity and morbidity rates for postpartum Black womxn.

Team Members:  TennCareUnitedHealthcare Community Plan of TennesseeTennessee Maternal Fetal Medicine, PLC, and Meharry College of Medicine


Project Focus: Disparities in access to prenatal and postpartum care for womxn of color.

Team Members:  Washington State Health Care AuthorityCommunity Health Plan of Washington, and Community Health Network of Washington


There are many resources that have been developed through the Advancing Health Equity project that are available for free to all Medicaid stakeholders.  Here are a few of our favorites.

Creating a Culture of Equity         

Roadmap to Reduce Disparities 

Finding Answers:  Disparities Research for Change

Improving Maternal Health Access, Coverage, and Outcomes in Medicaid       

Essential Elements for a Maternal Health Intiative Business Case         

Inequities Amplified By COVID-19: Opportunities For Medicaid To Address Health Disparities                                                                             

For more information about opportunities to be engaged in this exciting work, please contact Dr. Jennifer Moore at JMoore@MedicaidInnovation.org.


Support for this project is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.