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Current Projects

The following list provides information on research projects currently underway at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. To help you navigate, projects are classified by focus area and include the project name, funder, a brief description, and a link if you would like to request additional information.

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Health System Performance Improvement

  • Connecting Health and Homeless Services in New Jersey

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    Homelessness is a root cause of health inequity, disproportionately affecting groups already experiencing health disparities especially African American, Latinx and Indigenous populations. Coordinated action, informed by timely evidence and data, is needed by homeless services and health delivery systems, as well as at the policy level, to achieve sustained improvement in the health and wellbeing of PEH. The aim of this project is to build on a five-year grant award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to the Center for State Health Policy (CSHP) to address important gaps in knowledge about how homelessness contributes to disparities in access to essential health services for Medicaid-enrolled adults and how permanent supportive housing can mitigate those disparities. CSHP will also coordinate closely with the team leading the RWJF-supported work at Rutgers Bloustein School to develop new data resources and engage community stakeholders to improve housing affordability in New Jersey.

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  • Program Assessment of NJ Traumatic Brain Injury Fund

    New Jersey Department of Human Services

    As of June 2022, there are approximately 600 clients actively receiving services from the NJ Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fund (Fund). The individuals are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in services/supports annually from the Fund, with a lifetime cap of $100,000. There are three criteria for receiving services through this Fund including: (1) medical documentation of a traumatic brain injury defined by CDC as an injury that impacts the functioning of the brain, (2) liquid assets of less than $100,000, (3) residency for at least 90 consecutive days in NJ. The Center for State Health Policy is undertaking an assessment of all components of this program with the goal of identifying opportunities to optimize the administration, oversight, and overall impact of the program.

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  • Trends in Medicaid Cancer Screening in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Identification of Best Practices

    New Jersey Department of Health

    New Jersey is ranked in the top ten nationally for cancer incidence. Among the most prevalent in New Jersey are cancers that are detectable by screening, including colorectal and lung cancer for both males and females and breast and cervical cancer for females. With Medicaid’s role as a cornerstone of insurance coverage throughout New Jersey, it is critical to ensure access to and utilization of recommended preventive care, including life- and cost-saving cancer screenings.

    The goals of this mixed methods study are to produce and disseminate actionable evidence on: 1) the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening among New Jersey Medicaid recipients, and 2) best practice strategies to improve cancer screening among New Jersey Medicaid beneficiaries overall and in times of public health emergencies. The study will use comprehensive, longitudinal New Jersey Medicaid enrollment, claims and encounter data from 2011-2021 augmented with qualitative interviews with provider organizations.

    The project is led by a multidisciplinary team from the Center for State Health Policy in collaboration with colleagues from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and investigators from the University of Southern California and North Carolina State University.

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  • Role of Homelessness and Supportive Housing in Healthcare Disparities among Adults in Medicaid

    National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH) (R01)

    There is ample evidence that homelessness is associated with inadequate access to essential health services and that African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and rural populations are at high risk for homelessness or its consequences. However, there is insufficient knowledge about gaps in use of specific health services among homeless adults, whether such gaps are greater among minority and rural populations, and the potential of permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs to mitigate these gaps. This study aims to: 1) quantify the contribution of homelessness to gaps in essential health services use among Medicaid beneficiaries by race/ethnicity and rural residential status; 2) evaluate the extent to which the gaps are mitigated by placement in PSH programs; and 3) identify Medicaid and PSH policy and programmatic strategies for improving access to essential health services and reducing associated racial/ethnic and rural disparities. The project is being led by investigators from the Center for State Health Policy in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and Monarch Housing Associates.

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  • Support for the NJ Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program

    New Jersey Department of Human Services

    In December 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 277 which directs the Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency and the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to launch the state’s health care cost growth benchmarking effort--New Jersey’s Health Care Affordability, Responsibility, and Transparency (HART) Program. The HART Program establishes targets aimed at slowing the rate of health care cost growth within the state and collects data to track progress in achieving those targets and improve overall cost transparency. To advance this work, New Jersey is taking part in the Peterson-Milbank Program for Sustainable Health Care Costs, launched by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Milbank Memorial Fund. The program supports state-led activities that engage cross-sector stakeholders in designing, adopting, and implementing policies to measure health care costs and set state-wide health care cost growth rate benchmarks. Rutgers Center for State Health Policy is providing analytic and strategic guidance in support of the State’s efforts, including offering staff support to inform the convening of an Interagency Health Care Affordability Working Group and an external Health Care Affordability Advisory Group.

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  • Evaluation of the NJFamilyCare Comprehensive 1115 Waiver Demonstration Renewal (“Waiver 2”)

    New Jersey Department of Human Services

    Medicaid demonstration waivers authorize states to test innovative strategies for improving services, even when the innovations depart from federal program standards. The NJ Medicaid program has designated CSHP to conduct the federally required evaluation of its comprehensive waiver. In this project, CSHP is studying the impact of waiver policy changes on patient access to care, quality of care, and costs. The policy changes include: 1) a shift of long-term services and supports (LTSS) from fee-for-service payment to the package of services for which Medicaid managed care plans are responsible; 2) expansion of income eligibility and administrative simplifications for beneficiaries in enrolling managed LTSS; 3) provision of additional home and community-based services, and expansion of eligibility for these services among children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and severe emotional disturbance; 4) implementation of premium assistance for Medicaid beneficiaries who have access to employer-sponsored health insurance; 5) expansion of access to and benefits for substance use disorder services; and 6) the extension of the NJ Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment hospital population health improvement program. The evaluation design utilizes both quantitative and qualitative techniques including analysis of Medicaid claims and managed care encounter data, as well as stakeholder interviews.

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  • Pairing Data with New Infrastructure to Improve Local Capacity to Address Homelessness in Newark

    Rutgers Equity Alliance for Community Health (REACH)

    Ensuring that people experiencing homelessness receive services tailored to their needs and the local housing environment is critical to ensuring their movement from shelter or transitional housing into permanent community-based housing. Housing navigators – caseworkers specialized in helping homeless families and individuals obtain permanent housing – are vital in these efforts, yet there is little evidence on which to make decisions on how best to utilize their skills. We are therefore engaging in a data-centered strategic planning process that will enable New Community Corporation, a community development corporation in Newark, NJ, to hire a housing navigator to assist families in its 102-unit Harmony House transitional housing facility. This strategy’s foundation is a multi-methods approach combining quantitative homeless services data from Harmony House and across Newark with qualitative interviews with NCC clients, staff, and partners and a review of evidence-based practices around housing navigators. This project is being led by investigators from the Center for State Health Policy and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in partnership with New Community Corporation and is supported by a grant from the Rutgers Equity Alliance for Community Health (REACH).

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There are no current projects for this focus area at this time.