This year’s event was the largest gathering in the history of the Medicaid Enterprise System Conference (MESC) according to the New England State Consortium Organization (NESCO), the organizers of the event. Approximately 1,650 individuals attended in person, with an additional 300 virtual attendees. Nearly all fifty states were represented at the conference, which was held in the welcoming and wonderful “Queen City,” Charlotte, North Carolina.
I was impressed to see states, vendors, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) coming together with the shared goal of strengthening our collective adaptability as we prepare for the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). As states create their own PHE unwind plans, the focus is on leveraging agile methodologies to mitigate staffing risks and partnering with the right stakeholders to achieve program goals. Organizations are also focused on modernizing modular Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS), implementing Streamlined Modular Certification (SMC), and delivering health equity.
It was also inspiring to hear conversations, many for the first time, about how to truly eliminate disparities that have become entrenched in our health systems. The CMS is designing and implementing policies and programs that support quality health outcomes for all people, including those who are traditionally underserved.
What this means for technology vendors
Vendors can make sure states’ transitions to a new normal are handled efficiently, empathetically, and equitably. While some organizations may be apprehensive about making the necessary changes for fear of the unknown, effective planning can mitigate risks and help alleviate member and provider concerns about change.
States looking to modernize their MMIS are deliberating operating models and procurement strategies. The current technology trend is to use smaller “best-of-breed” module solutions, providing platforms for new and smaller suppliers to present their specialty solutions. Wipro’s Enterprise Medicaid as a Service (EMaaS) Core Claims Module is one of the five qualified, empaneled solutions offered to states through NASPO.
Vendors can also help states strengthen their testing and analytics capabilities, enabling them to generate the results and metrics required by the CMS to receive SMC certification. Data-driven care allows for more transparency and accessibility of information, leading to better engagement and experiences for Medicaid members.
Looking ahead: The focus for MESC 2023
The presentations that I attended centered on smaller but critical priorities within various Medicaid programs, particularly leveraging data to advance health equity. This is an important point to focus on because analytics help states identify disparities and direct efforts and resources to address them.
I believe negotiation and open communication need to occur between the CMS, states, and vendors, so that technology requirements can be met and impact can be measured accordingly, such as making sure that the State Medicaid Agency receives the intended benefits from the time and money it has invested to align Medicaid systems with CMS policies and programs.
The energy at MESC 2022 this year was high, and it was inspiring to see everyone coming together with the shared purpose of driving Medicaid forward with technology. I am so grateful to work at a company like Wipro that is committed to supporting this mission, that is improving Medicaid by delivering solutions that complement the goals of the CMS and states.
I look forward to seeing the advancements this year’s event inspires. See you next year at MESC 2023 in Denver!