Governors call for more Medicaid data access

Improved access to Medicaid data is needed to strengthen the program and improve patient outcomes, the National Governors Association said in a letter sent to legislators last week.

The letter, sent to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) as a response to their November request for comment on Medicaid data gaps, urged legislators to increase the accessibility, timeliness and accuracy of available data. Doing so would better inform policy making, and provide patients with a higher quality of care, NGA Executive Director and CEO Scott Pattison wrote.

Improving access to data would help states “drive healthcare transformation” and better care for costly Medicaid beneficiaries with complex care needs, Pattison noted. The data, which which would available confidentially to states, could be used by governments and providers for benchmarking, quality improvement and efficiency measuring purposes.

NGA also called for increased collaboration on Medicaid reporting between state and federal governments, with an emphasis on streamlining the reporting process to only require data with a “clear link to shared state-federal policy goals.”

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services already has limited capacity to analyze and use Medicaid claims, quality and other data submitted by states,” Pattison wrote.  “Creating additional reporting requirements for states will not improve the Medicaid program unless those requirements are developed in collaboration with governors and their Medicaid directors.”

The letter also called for extra access to Medicare data, in addition to Medicaid, in order to improve care for dual-eligibles.