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Commentary

Utilizing Medicaid Advisory Councils to Drive Change


January 21, 2021

Sara Ratner, Senior Vice President, Government Markets & Strategic Initiatives, IcarioBy Sara Ratner, Senior Vice President, Government Markets & Strategic Initiatives, Icario

A company announcement highlighting the establishment of an advisory council may be viewed as a perfunctory, superficial, and bureaucratic public relations exercise adding little value to the underlying company end-user, member, or consumer. The new Icario Medicaid Advisory Council is the antithesis of a shallow approach.

The entire team at Icario is obsessed with designing and delivering the most advanced tools, insights, and communication strategies to engage health care consumers, especially those that are underserved with the largest health care needs. Perhaps no other population needs this kind of attention more than Medicaid eligibles and beneficiaries.

Irrespective of favorable or unfavorable Medicaid policy views, this segment of health care has grown by 6 million since February 2020 and is forecasted to continue outpacing any other health care segment growth. Between 2.5% and 4% of individuals employed pre-pandemic have been displaced from the labor market since March 2020, creating a large population of uninsured and Medicaid eligibles. For many, Medicaid is the only health insurance option.

It is indisputable that Medicaid beneficiaries are among the most underserved populations. Almost half of the total Medicaid enrollees are children. Successfully creating greater awareness, improved access and education and driving health action among Medicaid eligibles not only improves the population’s health, but also positively accretes the U.S. economy. This foundation is the genesis for establishing the Medicaid Advisory Council (MAC).

The Icario MAC’s charter centers on two key areas: guiding the strategy for new markets including vertical market expansion and supporting and informing Icario’s Medicaid policy. This council provides additional horsepower for Icario’s rapid growth and performance epitomized in markedly better health outcomes for our customers’ members.

Icario is honored and proud to welcome the Medicaid Advisory Council members to its team. These industry leaders and visionaries have dedicated their careers to the design, execution, and improvement of Medicaid programs at the federal and state level, and on behalf of payers, providers, and other health care organizations. These leaders are uniquely qualified to provide insight and support helping Icario improve the Medicaid experience. The team includes:

  • Andrey Ostrovsky, managing partner of Social Innovation Ventures and the former chief medical officer of the U.S. Medicaid Program
  • John Gorman of Nightingale Partners, who formerly served as the assistant director of the Office of Managed Care, now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)
  • Dr John F Fitzgerald, a population health expert from Indiana University Health
  • David Kulick of The Focus Group, a national consultant with expertise helping health care entities identify growth strategies
  • Marie Zimmerman, a Medicaid transformation and financing expert with Aurrera Health Group who previously served as state Medicaid director for Minnesota’s Medicaid program

The MAC supports Icario’s ability to cultivate deeper insights into Medicaid members helping to drive a beneficiary’s engagement. With the Council’s help identifying emerging trends Icario can continue to provide leading innovative capabilities for its customers informing programs that deliver the best possible health outcomes. At Icario, that’s one box we are truly excited to check.

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