Statewide Evaluation of Washington's State Innovation Model Initiative: A Mixed-Methods Approach

Popul Health Manag. 2021 Dec;24(6):727-737. doi: 10.1089/pop.2020.0374. Epub 2021 May 19.


The Washington State Innovation Model (SIM) $65 million Test Award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is a statewide intervention expected to improve population health, quality of care, and cost growth through 4 initiatives in 2016-2018: (1) regional accountable communities of health linking health and social services to address local needs; (2) a practice transformation support hub; (3) four value-based payment reform pilot projects mainly in state employee and Medicaid populations; and (4) data and analytic infrastructure development to support system transformation with common measures. A mixed-methods study design and data from the 2013-2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Surveys are used to estimate whether SIM resulted in changes in access to care, health behaviors, and health status in Washington's adult population. Semi-structured qualitative interviews also were conducted to assess stakeholder perceptions of SIM performance. SIM may have reduced binge drinking, but no effects were detected for heavy drinking, physical activity, smoking, having a regular doctor checkup, unmet health care needs, and fair or poor health status. Complex interventions, such as SIM, may have unintended consequences. SIM was associated unexpectedly with increased unhealthy days, but whether the association was related to the Initiative or other factors is unclear. Over 3 years, stakeholders generally agreed that SIM was implemented successfully and increased Washington's readiness for system transformation but had not yet produced expected outcomes, partly because SIM had not spread statewide. Stakeholders perceived that scaling up SIM statewide takes time to achieve and remains challenging.

Keywords: SIM; State Innovation Model; Washington; complex intervention; health policy; statewide system transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Medicaid*
  • Medicare*
  • Social Responsibility
  • United States
  • Washington