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Econometrica Celebrates Women’s History Month

Econometrica Celebrates Women’s History Month

As the end of Women’s History Month draws near, Econometrica wants to take this opportunity to spotlight one of our exceptional leaders, Dr. Kristie McNealy, who leads the Health Group at Econometrica, managing people, projects, and business development.

Dr. McNealy has been with Econometrica since 2013, using her skills and knowledge as a medical doctor (MD), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), and a Project Management Professional (PMP) to lead multiple projects measuring and improving the quality of care for patients.

While she has extensive technical knowledge in clinical quality measurement, alternative payment models, qualitative research, and more, she is also a skilled leader of people and projects. She gets the best work from her team because she is able to take strong, decisive action while also making everyone on the team feel heard and appreciated.

We asked Dr. McNealy a few questions to get to know her better.

Why do you like working at Econometrica?

I love the culture of learning at Econometrica, especially within the Health Group. One of my favorite parts of the week is our weekly learning sessions where everyone has the opportunity to share new things they are learning or topics expertise they bring from previous roles.

What is your favorite project that you have worked on at Econometrica and why?

My favorite project is the measure development work we did for the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Stakeholder engagement and collaboration was a key piece of this work, and we had the opportunity to visit over 30 PACE Organizations across the country where we talked to participants and their family members to learn about why they chose to enroll in the program. We also got to work with an amazing group of experts, including family members, who participated in our technical expert panel and helped us select measures that would be both feasible for providers and meaningful to people trying to select the best option for their medical care.

How does your previous experience influence your work at Econometrica?

I think my experiences in medical school and time spent on the board of a rural health system give me interesting perspective on how different stakeholders in the healthcare industry work and communicate. It helps me understand technical assistance requests and the impacts of recommendations we make through our work on Medicare programs in a different way.

What do you do outside of work?

I have four kids who we have homeschooled since before COVID, so they are the focus of most of my time outside work. We love to ski, and it has been so fun to watch my kids go from the bunny hill to double black diamonds while we have lived in Utah. I can barely keep up with them anymore!

New Report Provides Detailed Data on Beneficiaries Who Are Dually Eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

Data Book 2022Dual-eligible beneficiaries, or individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits because of their income level and age or disability status, can face a range of challenges in navigating and coordinating care through two separate systems. This population also experiences worse health outcomes, on average, as well as higher healthcare expenditures than non-dual beneficiaries, leading to concerns that those barriers to care are increasing costs while producing poor results.

As part of an ongoing project to help address these issues by creating “a common understanding” of the dual-eligible population, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission (MACPAC) recently released a data book containing detailed information about the 12.2 million dual-eligible beneficiaries in the United States.

In addition to providing an overview of the Medicare and Medicaid programs for dual-eligible beneficiaries, the new report also provides detailed breakdowns of this population along a range of characteristics, including:

  • Demographics and personal characteristics, such as age, income, education, and residence.
  • Program eligibility, enrollment, and utilization.
  • Expenditures and healthcare spending.
  • Health outcomes, including chronic condition diagnoses as well as self-reported health status.

For more information, you can read the full report here.

To learn about how Econometrica is helping States access and use Medicare data to improve care coordination and support for their dual-eligible beneficiaries, visit our State Data Resource Center project page.

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month, which aims to call attention to the growth of poverty in America. The COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the issue for families and communities nationwide.

Poverty is a complex social issue; it can manifest in hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, disabilities, and social discrimination and exclusion, among other ways. People living in poverty having an increased risk of chronic conditions, lower life expectancy, and barriers to receiving quality healthcare.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), 37.2 million Americans live in poverty, which is an increase of 3.3 million people since 2019. OMH also notes that in 2020, racial and ethnic minorities continued to be disproportionately affected by poverty, with the rates of poverty among Black (19.5%) and Hispanic (17%) Americans more than twice that of White Americans (8.2%).

CMS offers a number of resources to help  learn how to access health coverage, manage health care costs, and fully utilize benefits. For more information, visit https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/OMH/equity-initiatives/health-observances.

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities also provides resources to combat poverty.

CMS Releases Updated Look at COVID-19’s Impact on the Medicare Population

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a snapshot of the impact COVID-19 has had on the Medicare population. The monthly update, released June 30, shows there were more than 4.3 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and more than 1.2 million COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Data in the snapshot covers the period January 1, 2020, to April 24, 2021.

A factsheet and additional information can be fund at https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/preliminary-medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot.

AHRQ’s MEPS-HC Health Policy Booklet Abstraction Tool Wins Prestige

AHRQ’s MEPS-HC Health Policy Booklet Abstraction Tool Wins Prestige

BETHESDA, MD – An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) project on which Econometrica played a key role won an award for developing “an efficient data abstraction tool and the support of well-trained, highly skilled abstractors.”

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) Health Policy Booklet Abstraction project, on which Econometrica served as a subcontractor to SoftDev, won recognition in the 7th Annual FedHealthIT Innovation Awards. The awards recognize and honor innovation and results in the Federal health technology and consulting community that benefits the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Health System, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The MEPS-HC project involved the creation of an abstraction tool for use in extracting cost-sharing data elements from Summaries of Benefits and Coverage and other health insurance policy documents for private, Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans. Econometrica was responsible for training, implementing, and ensuring the quality of the data abstraction process using the abstraction tool developed by the team. The abstracted data will be compiled into a public-use database with individual-level cost-sharing data that links to the MEPS-HC data for use in research and consumption by a variety of stakeholders as well as the public.

“This represents the development of an efficient data abstraction tool and the support of well-trained, highly skilled abstractors to produce a robust, accurate and actionable data source for AHRQ’s use,” according to FedHealthIT.

The tool “modernized AHRQ’s available toolset by harnessing cognitive services in a way not previously used.” FedHealthIT also noted that “the solution strikes a smart balance between automation and human intelligence to best interpret artifacts, empowering AHRQ to leap forward after a twenty year wait for the critical information locked within the [health policy booklet] documents.”

AHRQ and the project and MEPS team will be recognized at a virtual ceremony June 22 and 23, 2021. Award winners were nominated and selected by a panel that included current and former Federal health leaders across Government and industry. More about the awards and other winners can be found at https://www.fedhealthit.com/2021/05/2021-fedhealthit-innovation-award-winners-announced/.

About Econometrica

Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business development.

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) Health Policy Booklet Abstraction project, on which Econometrica served as a subcontractor to SoftDev, won recognition in the 7th Annual FedHealthIT Innovation Awards.

Press Contact

Jonathan Fusfield