Programs

1115 Substance Use Disorder Waiver Evaluation (SUD-E)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) Bureau for Medical Services a 1115 Waiver for the state’s Medicaid program that has enabled new types of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. To ensure compliance with CMS federal guidelines, the Office of Health Affairs is developing an evaluation plan that focuses on examining measures of SUD-related morbidity and mortality before and after waiver implementation. The team is using a differences-in-differences design with data from a control state that will provide both real-time and long-term feedback for the project and measure processes and outcomes.

Impact

A robust evaluation of Medicaid Waiver implementation allows WV DHHR to identify strengths and weaknesses of substance-use disorder services across the State.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Thomas Bias
Program Manager & Research Specialist
Rebecca Wallis, MSPH

All-Payer Claims Database (APCD)

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of the Secretary, and Bureau for Medical Services have undertaken an enterprise data initiative to improve data resources and analytic capacity for evidence-based policy decisions including, the expansion of the availability of health insurance claims from public and private sources. Secondary use of claims data offers valuable information to inform decision-makers on a variety of health policy issues: including trends, costs, evaluation of programs, services access, outcomes, and more. The APCD is supported through a partnership with DHHR and the WVU Office of Health Affairs providing data analysts and research support.

Impact

The APCD Phase 1 project will plan for a standardized, longitudinal repository of data that can provide vital information for users to improve health and healthcare delivery for every West Virginian.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Carol Stocks
Program Manager
Brandon Marsh, PMP

Children's In-Home and Community-Based Services Improvement Project (CWE)

In collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health this program is focused on developing an approach to evaluate changes being made to the child welfare system and efforts to expand and improve the in-home and community-based mental and behavioral health services for children in WV. This evaluation is aligned with ongoing implementation work and will capture the outcomes for children and youth, families, healthcare providers and partner agencies across the state, as they work to improve the continuum of mental and behavioral health services that will better meet children’s needs in WV.

Impact

Improving mental-health service outcomes for children and preserving their rights through the systems of care in the state while ensuring efficiency for the state through fewer institutionalized treatments.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Summer Hartley
Program Managers
Chelsea Dunaway, MPH
Joshua Hanna, JD
Program Directors
David Hall, MS
Myia Welsh, MSW

Community Health Needs Assessments

As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service requires all non-profit hospitals in the state to conduct Community Health Needs Assessments to determine the public health needs of the communities in which they provide services. Every three years, hospitals gather input from community members and service providers in order to summarize these needs into a formal assessment and create a Community Health Implementation Plan that shows how they can address these issues as a non-profit entity. West Virginia University conducts these needs assessments for several hospitals and hospital systems in West Virginia and the surrounding region.

Impact

The facilitation and guidance of Community Health Needs Assessments help non-profit hospitals and hospital systems align their resources to directly improve health of the communities that they serve.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Thomas Bias
Program Manager & Research Specialist
Emily Sarkees

Covid-19 Policy Evaluation

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) Bureau for Medical Services (BMS) has implemented several policy changes to protect Medicaid beneficiaries from COVID-19 while also facilitating their access to necessary medical services, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program focuses on evaluating the impact of these policy changes on Medicaid spending, utilization, and health outcomes.

Impact

Provide data-driven evidence to support the continued implementation or abolishment of policy changes enacted in response to the COVID-19 crisis and guide the BMS response to future COVID-19 outbreaks or other pandemics.

Program Team

Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Tom Bias
Dr. Charles Mueller
Program Director
Mia Brown, MS
Program Managers
Adam Pauley, MPA
Natalie Thorpe, MHA

Data Analytics and Decision Support (DADS)

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) Bureau for Medical Services (BMS) provides insurance benefits to nearly one third of the state’s population through the Medicaid program —with an overarching goal to improve the delivery of healthcare services while containing spending. BMS is interested in strengthening its capacity to utilize data to improve decision making across the agency. The focus of this work is to assist BMS in enhancing its data analytics and decision support services.

Impact

Strengthens WV DHHR capability in data analytics and decision making across the agency, in turn improving the provision of services to WV residents in need.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Shyama Mahakalanda
Program Manager
Brandon Marsh, PMP
Health Data Analysts
Anina Aaron, MAS
Marco Schaaf, MPH, MBA

Independent Verification and Validation of DHHR Integrated Eligibility System (IV&V)

This program provides IV&V services for the design, development and implementation of PATH, an integrated system to improve how the state determines eligibility and delivery of social service programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child welfare, childcare, and child support. This is an independent audit to ensure the software is well-engineered and meets the state’s needs to consolidate disparate data base management systems across state programs.

Impact

Provides an independent and unbiased perspective on the progress of the implementation of the eligibility and enrollment application (WV PATH) for the programs administered by WV DHHR, ensuring the investment in the application delivers the functionality needed by WV DHHR, the federal partners, and the residents of the State of West Virginia.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Bob Duval
Program Director
Tom Gilpin, MS
Program Managers
Jon McCullough, BS
Tyler Jacobs, BS

Medicaid OUD Treatment Outcomes and Recovery (MOTOR) Study

More about MOTOR coming soon...

Impact

coming soon...

Program Team

Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Shyama Mahakalanda
Dr. Brianna Sheppard
Program Manager
Amanda Jones, MPH, MBA

Mountain Health Promise Independent Assessment (MHP)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources to conduct an independent assessment of the Mountain Health Promise program annually. The program operates under a 1915(b) waiver and provides health coverage to approximately 19,000 children and youth in foster care. The WVU Office of Health Affairs team is conducting the required independent evaluation of the program impact, access, quality, and cost-effectiveness in the first year of its implementation.

Impact

Ensure children in foster care have access to quality health insurance coverage and services.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Ruchi Bhandari
Program Manager
Emily Robinson, MA

Mountain-state Assessment of Trends in Community Health (MATCH)

MATCH is a newly designed, statewide, cross-sectional, population health survey developed in partnership with multiple bureaus across the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR). This biennial survey will not only aim to obtain statewide estimates but will also attempt to acquire data that are generalizable at the county-level for all 55 counties in the state. The data collected will be publicly available to be used to help inform data-driven policy and programmatic decisions—meaning health resources will better reach those who need it most in the state.

Impact

Ensure state funds and services reach areas of the state that need it most using data-driven programmatic and policy decision making.

Program Team

Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Summer Hartley
Dr. Ruchi Bhandari
Program Director
Dr. Angela Dyer
Program Manager
Emily Robinson, MA

Overdose Data to Action (DTA)

Research has shown that emergency department (ED)-initiated treatment programs for opioid use disorder (OUD) can be an effective strategy to connect patients to treatment and significantly reduce ED visits. Funded by the CDC Overdose Data to Action grant, the Office of Health Affairs is implementing and evaluating WV DHHR ED-based programs that deliver universal drug and alcohol screening, provide peer recovery support services, initiate medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and refer ED patients being treated for overdose or related conditions to treatment and support services in five high-risk northern West Virginia counties.

Impact

Reduce overdose deaths and improve opportunities for people with substance use disorder (SUD), particularly OUD, to achieve long-term recovery in the communities served by the partnering hospitals and associated regional comprehensive behavioral health centers.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Herb Linn, MS
Program Manager & Research Specialist
Emily Sarkees

State Health Information Technology Plan (HITP)

The State Health Information Technology Plan sets forth a vision for health information technology in the state of West Virginia. Produced in 2009, the State Health Information Technology Plan provided a general overview of key information technology issues confronting the state at the time and was developed with input from a number of stakeholders. The 2021 revised version will aim to accelerate the adoption of health information technology, foster the Health Information Exchange, ensure the broadband infrastructure is available to support health information technology, and promote the use of standard data necessary for strategic planning and improvement of health care services.

Impact

Completion of a federal requirement to update the State Medicaid Health Plan, a document that describes the State’s Medicaid incentive program and how it integrates current and planned Medicaid Health Information Technology (HIT) assets and fits within the larger State Health Information Exchange/HIT roadmap.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Bob Duval
Program Director
Tom Gilpin, MS
Program Manager
Tyler Jacobs, BS

State Opioid Response - Medical Services

The West Virginia (WV) State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is aimed to prevent opioid-related overdose, increase access to medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), increase access to treatment for stimulant use disorder, reduce the stigma associated with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and MOUD, and increase overall access to opioid use disorder (OUD) and stimulant prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The three medical schools in WV have significant expertise and capacity, to contribute to combating the opioid and emergent stimulant use disorder epidemics. Working in concert with each other, other SOR grantees, and BBH, WV’s medical school through the Office of Health Affairs can leverage their assets and abilities to further SOR's goals and objectives.

Impact

Increases provider capacity for prevention and treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), removes barriers for medication assisted treatment and reduces stigma for the opioid epidemic.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Bri Sheppard
Program Director
Christena Ross, MS
Program Manager
Laura Cooper MPH, PMP

Systems of Care Evaluation (SOC)

In 2019, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (WV DHHR) Bureau for Behavioral Health was awarded a four-year System of Care Expansion and Sustainability grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement improvements in child mental health services across the state. The focus of this program is to create and implement a comprehensive evaluation of the SOC grant in WV. This work will enable the WV DHHR to assess the implementation of evidence-based approaches to children’s mental health care in WV and improve service access and delivery, ultimately improving outcomes for youth and families, while also reducing costs associated with mental health services.

Impact

Improve the mental health outcomes for children and youth in WV with serious emotional disturbance and their families.

Program Team

Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Jennifer Ervin
Dr. Bri Sheppard
Program Manager
Benjamin Nemeth, MPA

Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment fore Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Grant

SUPPORT is a demonstration grant to increase provider capacity in West Virginia for substance use disorder treatment, particularly for pregnant and post-partum women and their children, youth and transition age (12-25), and rural populations. In 2017, WV led the nation in opioid overdoses. Although WV continues to see high rates of opioid use disorder and polysubstance use disorder, great strides have been made in treating the disorders through medication assisted treatment (MAT). This work will raise awareness of MAT effectiveness, identify gaps in and barriers to MAT as well as all substance use disorders and behavioral health related services, and develop strategies for reaching more people with higher quality treatment and recovery services.

Impact

Reduce the prevalence substance use disorder by ensuring treatment and prevention programs reach more West Virginians.

Program Team

Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Brianna Sheppard
Dr. Jeffrey Coben
Program Director
Christena Ross, MS
Program Manager
Johnathan Herczyk, MPH, CPM

State Opioid Response Grant Program Evaluation

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health was awarded a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant—funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—to address Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in the state. As part of the grant, West Virginia University is implementing a robust evaluation of grant activities, measuring both process and impact, in accordance with federal and state reporting requirements. The formative and summative evaluation findings will provide real time and long-term feedback on the OUD projects—helping to measure the impact on the opioid epidemic.

Impact

Ensure state funding to address the opioid crisis goes to high impact projects, promoting quality and fidelity to evidence-based practice models that can improve OUD treatment and recovery in West Virginia.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Thomas Bias
Program Manager
William King, PMP

Telehealth Pilot (THP)

The WVU Office of Health Affairs and affiliate faculty from the Schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine led a design team to construct and propose a telehealth pilot intervention and evaluation plan in response to the Take Me Home transition Program, a federally funded program funded by CMS. The purpose of the telehealth pilot project is to pilot new telehealth equipment that monitors client health markers in association with telehealth provider care. The goal of this pilot is to reduce emergency department visits and unwanted readmission to long-term residential health facility care. The telehealth pilot targets adult Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver or Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver participants transitioning back into their communities from a long-term care institution using Take Me Home transition services. The evaluation will help determine if telehealth intervention services is effective in preventing unwanted emergency care or long-term residential health care readmission for those transitioning back into their homes and communities.

Impact

Provide older adults and people with disabilities greater choice in where to live and receive long-term health services and support and prevent emergency department visits.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Steve Davis
Program Manager
John Herczyk, MPH, CPM

Work and Community Engagement Enhancement Project (WCEE)

In collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the WVU designed three options for a voluntary work enhancement program for individuals receiving Medicaid coverage in West Virginia. The program options included different incentivized programs to engage Medicaid beneficiaries in the workforce or workforce training. The programs were informed through an external scan of other states that were in various stages of development and implementation of workforce engagement programs. The lessons-learned from different state programs served as a guide to developing and proposing strategy options best suited for the West Virginia population.

Impact

Potential to incentivize healthy behaviors and support individuals in their efforts to achieve and sustain employment.

Program Team

Principal Investigator
Dr. Summer Hartley

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