A group of people participating in a pilot project in Salina, Kansas live healthier and more active lives after KanCare (Kansas’ Medicaid program) and Cerner collaborated to improve their overall well-being. Starting in June 2015, the initiative used targeted data to focus on eligible Medicaid beneficiaries diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, and those who were pregnant. Those beneficiaries then learned how they could improve their health, through things like healthy eating and exercise.
“The pilot program identified effective ways to improve the health and engagement of those in the Kansas Medicaid program,” said Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer.
When the program ended in July 2016, those who took part in all the program requirements reported a drop in triglycerides and total cholesterol, as well an increase in physical activity. Total cholesterol fell an average of 9.8 mg/dL, while triglycerides fell an average of 27.5 mg/dL. The group also self-reported an increase in moderate or vigorous physical activity — from 82 percent to 93 percent.
To encourage participation, flyers posted throughout the city provided education on the program. Cerner set up physical locations close to where beneficiaries lived, worked and shopped including the Salina Emergency Aid /Food Bank, Central Kansas Foundation and Walmart.
At those locations, Cerner’s health team administered labs and biometric screenings, provided health coaching services and offered health improvement education. Cerner health navigators also matched participants to physicians, monitored program engagement and shared information about the participants’ progress with those involved (managed care coordination). As an incentive, enrollees received water bottles, pedometers or Walmart gift cards for their participation in the program.
Cerner and the University of Kansas Business School created a short survey to collect data on participants’ health beliefs, motivations and hopes. Survey results helped break the respondents into various groups. Health navigators then communicated with participants in each group with personalized messaging to encourage further participation.
“Through the program, we found a way to incentivize members to make healthy behavior changes,” said Colyer. “The incentive strategy, combined with collaborative relationships between beneficiaries and their health team, are helping Kansans achieve better outcomes.”
Now that the pilot project is complete, it could lead to similar future projects to improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries.