Our Inaugural CMS SBRAD IDIQ Contract Awarded in 2011

Our Inaugural CMS SBRAD IDIQ Contract Awarded in 2011

In 2011, Econometrica was awarded our first-ever contract on our Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Small Business Research and Demonstration (SBRAD) Programs Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. The contract, Medicaid Incentives for Prevention of Chronic Diseases (MIPCD) Technical Support, was within the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, Medicare Demonstration Program Group.

MIPCD Program to Help People Adopt Healthy Behaviors

On behalf of CMS, Econometrica supported the implementation of the MIPCD demonstration program. Enacted under Section 4108 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the MIPCD program is designed to test the effectiveness of providing incentives to Medicaid beneficiaries who participate in prevention programs and demonstrate changes in health risk and outcomes, including the adoption of healthy behaviors.

Ten States were funded to participate in MIPCD. The programs addressed at least one of the following prevention goals: tobacco cessation, controlling or reducing weight, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and avoiding the onset of diabetes or (in the case of a diabetic) improving the management of the condition.

Participants Receive Incentives to Promote Healthy Behaviors

Depending on the program, participants could receive incentives for activities (such as attending a gym, attending diabetes self-management education classes or weight loss programs, calling a Quitline for smoking cessation counseling, or having an eye exam) or outcomes (reduced weight, reduced blood glucose, confirmed smoking abstinence). The levels and types of incentives that the States offered varied and included cash, gift cards, points that could be redeemed for products, weight loss program memberships, and health club memberships.

Under its MIPCD contract, the Econometrica Team provided technical support to the 10 State grantees and provided support to CMS in monitoring the program. In addition to providing monthly and annual progress reports to CMS, our contract included three main task areas:

  1. Design and implement a learning collaborative. Econometrica facilitated monthly meetings with the States, planned biannual webinars that addressed States’ needs, hosted biannual face-to-face meetings, and maintained MIPCD.net, a Section 508 compliant, interactive program website.
  2. Monitor grantee progress and needs and provide technical assistance to grantees. Econometrica attended biweekly (later decreased in frequency to monthly) calls with each grantee and CMS, reviewed grantee quarterly reports, and solicited feedback from grantees on their needs. Grantees also requested assistance on specific topics. Once a technical assistance need was identified, the team conducted research, literature reviews, and other activities to provide information and strategies to assist the grantees.
  3. Collect and analyze data. The Econometrica Team compiled and analyzed secondary participant- and program-level data to assess grantee program implementation and to support the Federal Evaluation Contractor’s data collection efforts. This included developing the data collection protocol for the program’s minimum dataset and tracking current enrollment against each State’s target numbers.

Econometrica successfully met its commitments under this contract, and CMS accepted our final report. This inaugural CMS SBRAD contract has led to many more in the ensuing years.

The programs addressed at least one of the following prevention goals: tobacco cessation, controlling or reducing weight, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and avoiding the onset of diabetes or (in the case of a diabetic) improving the management of the condition.

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Our Inaugural Housing and Community Development Contract Awarded in 2002

Our Inaugural Housing and Community Development Contract Awarded in 2002

In 2002, Econometrica was awarded its first-ever contract from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The contract originated in the Office of Policy Development and Research, and the work was an evaluation of the HUD Mark-To-Market (M2M) program—a program designed to address the rapidly increasing costs in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured stock that is supported by Section 8 (also known as project-based) assistance. In many cases, these Section 8 contracts provide for rents above local market levels. The M2M program brings rents down to market levels while simultaneously preserving low-income housing affordability by allowing HUD to reduce the Section 8 rents to market levels and reduce the FHA mortgage on the property, if necessary, to a level that lower rents can support. The program’s goals are thus to preserve low-income rental housing affordability while reducing the long-term costs of federal rental assistance and minimizing the adverse effect on the FHA insurance funds. The program also aims to establish a network of locally based entities to administer the program.

The objective of Econometrica’s study was to evaluate the implementation of the M2M program to date in terms of cost effectiveness and participant and resident satisfaction.

Our study included three primary analysis activities: (1) a Process Analysis of the administrative mechanisms implementing the M2M program; (2) a Retrospective Statistical Analysis of trends in participation levels, estimates of savings to the government resulting from the program, measures of program efficiency, and preliminary indications of program outcomes; and (3) a Prospective Analysis case study to document the restructuring process for 15 properties undergoing restructuring in 2003.

Econometrica successfully met its commitments under this contract, and HUD accepted our final report for publication. This inaugural HUD contract has led to many more contracts in the ensuing years; we currently count more than 60 contracts and cooperative agreements awarded by HUD and several others related to HUD programs and regulations awarded by state and local governments. Incidentally, the HUD official who oversaw this pivotal project, Dr. Jennifer Stoloff, is also now a full-time Econometrica employee!

The evaluation report is available online at https://www.huduser.gov/portal//Publications/pdf/M2MEva.pdf. You may also learn more about the M2M program at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/mfh/presrv/presmfh/aboutm2m.

The objective of Econometrica’s study was to evaluate the implementation of the M2M program to date in terms of cost effectiveness and participant and resident satisfaction.

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Expanding Our Partner Network

Expanding Our Partner Network

The HCD team is interested in expanding its consultant and subcontractor cadre to include individuals or partner firms with expertise in the following areas: disaster resiliency planning, disaster recovery funds management and program administration; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rural housing and economic development programs; Federal Housing Administration single-family housing policy, asset management, and marketing services; and local workforce development initiatives.

Largest Geographic Span of Site Visits for the Housing and Community Development Group

Largest Geographic Span of Site Visits for the Housing and Community Development Group

Over an 18-month period during 2009–2010, Econometrica’s Housing and Community Development group provided technical assistance (TA) services on site at more than 70 cities located in 32 states and 3 U.S. territories. This TA was provided in support of a then-new requirement that mandated public housing authorities (PHAs) of a certain size implement a new form of accounting and budgeting known as project-based accounting. PHAs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also referred to this as “asset management.”

HUD contracted Econometrica to provide these support services, including direct TA and group learning (training) across the HUD portfolio of housing agencies, which includes more than 3,500 PHAs. HUD Field Offices, a group of PHAs with similar needs, or an individual PHA could request TA from the project’s Government Technical Monitor.

Econometrica received a total of 81 Statements of Need (HUD-approved requests) during the 18-month period of performance, resulting in 60 onsite TA visits, 1 instance of remote direct TA, 8 TA workshops, 4 TA workshops combined with direct onsite TA visits, and 8 eventual cancellations of requests. More than 675 people attended the training workshops.

The scope of assistance provided ranged from 40 hours of assistance in several places—including Salina, KS; Calexico, CA; and Allegheny County, PA—and 520 hours of assistance in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most assignments averaged 80 to 160 hours of assistance. The size of PHAs served by the TA efforts also ranged from small portfolios, such as 98 units of low-rent public housing in the Monticello Housing Authority (NY), to much larger stock, such as 2,800 units of low-rent public housing in the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority portfolio.

Econometrica completed these requests by relying on 22 subject matter experts among its own staff members as well as 2 subcontractor firms and 11 independent consultants. Econometrica’s Project Manager, Doray Sitko, remotely managed these personnel, who were located in geographically disparate locations across the United States. Then-Director Charles Hanson supervised her.

This was and remains to date the largest geographic span of any Housing and Community Development project in which Econometrica has ever held the prime contractor role. During the 18 months of the project, Econometrica not only coordinated the logistics of all site visits but also prepared curricula, developed a TA plan and report for every assignment, and otherwise successfully managed this nearly $3 million project. We are very proud of the assistance the Econometrica Team was able to provide and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of field work in so many locales.

HUD contracted Econometrica to provide these support services, including direct TA and group learning (training) across the HUD portfolio of housing agencies, which includes more than 3,500 PHAs. HUD Field Offices, a group of PHAs with similar needs, or an individual PHA could request TA from the project’s Government Technical Monitor.

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Expanding Our Partner Network

Expanding Our Partner Network

The HCD team is interested in expanding its consultant and subcontractor cadre to include individuals or partner firms with expertise in the following areas: disaster resiliency planning, disaster recovery funds management and program administration; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rural housing and economic development programs; Federal Housing Administration single-family housing policy, asset management, and marketing services; and local workforce development initiatives.

Econometrica Remembers Pivotal Projects From the Past 20 Years

Econometrica Remembers Pivotal Projects From the Past 20 Years

Join us on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month to learn about a past pivotal project

2018 marks Econometrica’s 20-year anniversary, and in celebration of this occasion we will be taking a walk down memory lane to revisit projects from the past. As part of our Econometrica Remembers Pivotal Projects series, we will highlight a specific project every other Thursday that marked an important moment in our corporate history.

Over the past two decades, we have completed projects for many different agencies and markets, and we continue to expand our service areas and markets. Visit us every other Thursday to go back in time and relive some of our early projects, such as our first health project or our first housing project, and take a look at other work, including staff favorites, seminal methodological approaches, and much more. Join us for these “Throwback Thursdays!”

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