Making Medicare and Medicaid More Effective
NORC is a leading research partner for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency responsible for the health care needs of more than 100 million Americans and manages a budget of more than a trillion dollars. For decades, NORC has been one of CMS’ primary partners, gathering data, performing analysis, and informing CMS’ efforts to improve care and lower costs.
Since its inception in 1991, the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) has been the primary source of information for understanding Medicare spending and the evolving needs of older Americans and people with permanent disabilities. Since NORC won the contract to conduct the MCBS in 2014, we have implemented an ongoing series of innovations to maximize the reach and impact of MCBS data, including conducting a full review of the survey content, adding new measures of integrated care and preventive screenings, and developing a suite of products for the CMS website that have not been previously available to the public. These materials, published at the end of 2017 and early 2018, include the MCBS 2015 Data User’s Guide, the MCBS 2015 Methodology Report, the MCBS 2015 Chartbook, and a set of tutorials for first-time data users. Together, they will provide new tools to help data users understand and interpret MCBS data and expand the use of MCBS datafiles to a broader group of researchers and policymakers.
In addition to our work on the MCBS, NORC is leading the evaluation of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model, which offers financial incentives to provider groups that maintain or improve quality of care while restraining Medicare spending. NORC’s mixed-methods evaluation describes ACO and provider features; characterizes implementation across the ACOs; estimates the impact of the Next Generation ACO Model on cost of care and measures of utilization, quality, and beneficiary health; and identifies variations in the model’s impact and replicability.
NORC is also at the forefront of exploring improvements in the Medicaid program. In partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies, the RAND Corporation, and the Actuarial Research Corporation, NORC is providing technical support to 10 state Medicaid agencies participating in the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP). The goal of IAP is to improve the health and health care of Medicaid beneficiaries and to reduce costs by supporting states’ ongoing payment and delivery system reforms.
NORC’s efforts include one-on-one technical support to states in developing value-based payment (VBP) approaches, conducting financial simulation modeling of proposed models, establishing peer discussion group meetings for states that share common objectives and interests, and hosting national learning webinar sessions on important topics facing states considering VBP initiatives.