Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Public health does not 'lose out' when merged with medicaid programs

Date:
October 8, 2013
Source:
George Washington University
Summary:
State public health departments do not necessarily lose funding when merged with larger Medicaid programs, according to a just-released study.

State public health departments do not necessarily lose funding when merged with larger Medicaid programs, according to a just-released study. The findings from this first-of-a-kind research should help allay concerns that when such mergers occur they automatically lead to cutbacks in public health, says lead author Paula Lantz, PhD, who is chair of the Department of Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS).

"The concern has been that such mergers have led to public health departments receiving fewer economic resources," says Lantz. "We found no evidence in this study to support that widespread assumption," she said.

Lantz, who conducted the study while at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, led a team that studied organizational change in state health-related departments from 1990 to 2009. The researchers discovered that in many cases states kept the same organizational structure in place during the 20-year period.

However, the team did find that consolidating public health departments with Medicaid departments did occur with some frequency: The researchers found that 27 states (54 percent) had housed the two functions together at one point in the 20-year period. And when they did so, the funding allocated to the public health department remained unchanged, Lantz said.

That finding runs counter to the belief that when public health merges with Medicaid, which comprised on average 16 percent of states' entire budgets during the study period, public health as a smaller entity loses out in terms of resources and focus. In fact, this study found that in states that adopted this kind of merger, the Medicaid program, not public health, showed a 5 percent decline in funding.

This research didn't uncover the underlying reasons for that observed decline in Medicaid funding. However, one theory that needs to be verified suggests that when strong public health departments merge with Medicaid there's more attention paid to health promotion. An effective public health agency might help save the Medicaid program money by preventing costly diseases or health problems before they get a chance to start, Lantz says.

Despite the importance of understanding the impact of state restructuring on public health there has been virtually no research on this topic, Lantz said. To begin to fill that gap, the researchers collected primary data from all 50 states, including a look at old websites, progress reports and state organizational charts. In some cases, the researchers conducted interviews with long-time state staffers who could fill in the details about restructuring of state agencies related to health.

The team produced a database with time-varying information on state budget allocations related to health in four key areas: public health; Medicaid; mental health and human services. Overall, the team found that 18 states had at least one change that involved consolidation or decoupling these departments or areas during the study period. States grouped different areas together for varying reasons but they often made such moves to integrate health services and achieve administrative efficiencies, the authors said.

This study found no detrimental impact on public health departments after a Medicaid merger but the researchers looked back at historical data and did not project what might happen in the future, Lantz says. For example, state Medicaid budgets might swell in order to carry out the details of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additional research must be done to find out if such mergers will result in funding being pulled from public health programs as health reform gets fully implemented, she adds.

The study, "State Government Organization of Health Services, 1990-2009: Correlates and Consequences," appears online in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Washington University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paula M. Lantz, Jeffrey A. Alexander, Christopher Adolph, JoLynn P. Montgomery. State Government Organization of Health Services, 1990-2009. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31829ff709

Cite This Page:

George Washington University. "Public health does not 'lose out' when merged with medicaid programs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008165257.htm>.
George Washington University. (2013, October 8). Public health does not 'lose out' when merged with medicaid programs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008165257.htm
George Washington University. "Public health does not 'lose out' when merged with medicaid programs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008165257.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins