Friday Five: Senate unites to address the opioids crisis; states struggle with increased need for home healthcare

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October 12, 2018

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about bipartisan opioids legislation, the shortage of home healthcare workers, a toolkit for improving human services outcomes, plus an acquisition that will expand our federal call center business.

1. Senate easily passes sweeping opioids legislation, sending to President Trump

Last week, the Senate passed legislation addressing the opioid crisis nearly unanimously, according to the Washington Post. The bipartisan legislative package combines multiple smaller proposals previously introduced and includes requirements to screen mail for fentanyl, increase access to substance abuse treatment, and allow Medicaid to pay for in-patient treatment at centers with more than 16 beds.

2. Managed care payers struggle to staff long term support services

Aging patients increasingly want to receive long term care services in their homes, however managed care organizations are struggling to find the staff to provide these services. Healthcare Dive reports low wages and travel make recruiting and retaining home healthcare workers difficult. MCOs are responding by trying to increase wages, allow family members to serve as paid caregivers, and developing condition-specific training programs.

3. Will Maine voters decide to make aging in place affordable?

Nearly 20% of Maine’s population are senior citizens. According to Kaiser Health News, this fall its residents will vote on whether to make home care services available to everyone, regardless of income. Stipends would be available for family caregivers, while the majority of funding would go to building up the home care workforce. Maine ranked last in a recent AARP report on the affordability of home healthcare and has a shortage of home care aides.

4. MAXIMUS inks deal to acquire GDIT’s call center business

MAXIMUS is acquiring a government call center business from General Dynamics Information Technology. As reported in the Washington Business Journal, the acquisition will help MAXIMUS expand its service delivery, better support federal agencies, and introduce new technology to improve the customer experience.

5. What Works Toolkit: A state and local government policymaker's guide to improving human services contracting and outcomes

This Results for America toolkit is designed to help state and local governments improve human services program outcomes by moving away from a compliance-based procurement process to a more collaborative, outcomes-based one. The toolkit includes detailed recommendations, as well as tools, templates, and implementation examples.