As states have embraced additional flexibility to change coverage of and payment for Medicaid services, they have also faced heightened expectations for delivering high-value care. Efforts to meet these new expectations have increased the need for rigorous, evidence-based policy, but states may face challenges finding the resources, capacity, and expertise to meet this need. By describing state-university partnerships in more than 20 states, this commentary describes innovative solutions for states that want to leverage their own data, build their analytic capacity, and create evidence-based policy. From an integrated web-based system to improve long-term care to evaluating the impact of permanent supportive housing placements on Medicaid utilization and spending, these state partnerships provide significant support to their state Medicaid programs. In 2017, these partnerships came together to create a distributed research network that supports multi-state analyses. The Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network (MODRN) uses a common data model to examine Medicaid data across states, thereby increasing the analytic rigor of policy evaluations in Medicaid, and contributing to the development of a fully functioning Medicaid innovation laboratory.
Keywords: Health Information Exchange; Medicaid; Quality Improvement; Research Networks.