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Am J Manag Care ; 29(3): 136-141, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2263032


OBJECTIVES: Many Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) now screen enrollees and connect them to community-based organizations (CBOs) to address unmet social needs. COVID-19 has significantly disrupted health care delivery and overall economic activity in the United States. We examined how partnerships between Medicaid MCOs and CBOs to address social determinants of health have been affected by the pandemic. STUDY DESIGN: Guided by questions and recruitment strategies developed with our stakeholder advisory board, we conducted 26 interviews with representatives from all 6 of Kentucky's Medicaid MCOs. METHODS: In-depth, structured interviews for data collection and iterative content analyses to identify themes. RESULTS: Several themes emerged, including substantial increases in enrollees' unmet needs and the demand to find new ways to be responsive, changing funding patterns, disruptions to and evolving modes of communication, and shifting partner relationships. In virtually all areas of impact, COVID-19 has been associated with both negative and positive change. CONCLUSIONS: Unmet social needs associated with the pandemic placed tremendous strain on CBOs, limiting their capacity to sustain some programs and partnerships. Isolation associated with COVID-19 also had wide-ranging effects on service delivery, communication with enrollees and partners, and the ability to maintain relationships. Nonetheless, the pandemic also had some silver linings, including additional resources and flexibility for addressing unmet needs. Federal and state agencies, along with MCO leaders, should carefully evaluate what innovations have been particularly effective during the pandemic and craft new flexibilities into their policies, procedures, and regulations.

COVID-19 , Managed Care Programs , United States , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Medicaid
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1): 1403, 2022 Nov 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2139272


BACKGROUND: Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer require frequent clinic visits for maintenance of therapy. With COVID-19 causing health care disruptions, it is important to learn about how this population's access to health care has changed. This study compares self-reported health care utilization and changes in factors related to health care access among women treated at a cancer center in the mid-South US before and during the pandemic. METHODS: Participants (N = 306) part of a longitudinal study to improve adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) adherence completed pre-intervention baseline surveys about their health care utilization prior to AET initiation. Questions about the impact of COVID-19 were added after the pandemic started assessing financial loss and factors related to care. Participants were categorized into three time periods based on the survey completion date: (1) pre-COVID (December 2018 to March 2020), (2) early COVID (April 2020 - December 2020), and later COVID (January 2021 to June 2021). Negative binomial regression analyses used to compare health care utilization at different phases of the pandemic controlling for patient characteristics. RESULTS: Adjusted analyses indicated office visits declined from pre-COVID, with an adjusted average of 17.7 visits, to 12.1 visits during the early COVID period (p = 0.01) and 9.9 visits during the later COVID period (p < 0.01). Hospitalizations declined from an adjusted average 0.45 admissions during early COVID to 0.21 during later COVID, after vaccines became available (p = 0.05). Among COVID period participants, the proportion reporting changes/gaps in health insurance coverage increased from 9.5% participants during early-COVID to 14.8% in the later-COVID period (p = 0.05). The proportion reporting financial loss due to the pandemic was similar during both COVID periods (34.3% early- and 37.7% later-COVID, p = 0.72). The proportion of participants reporting delaying care or refilling prescriptions decreased from 15.2% in early-COVID to 4.9% in the later-COVID period (p = 0.04). CONCLUSION: COVID-19 caused disruptions to routine health care for women with breast cancer. Patients reported having fewer office visits at the start of the pandemic that continued to decrease even after vaccines were available. Fewer patients reported delaying in-person care as the pandemic progressed.

Breast Neoplasms , COVID-19 , Humans , Female , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Breast Neoplasms/therapy , Longitudinal Studies , beta-Aminoethyl Isothiourea , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Health Services Accessibility , Ambulatory Care Facilities
Contemp Clin Trials ; 123: 106973, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2095133


Obesity is a key risk factor for Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Alarmingly, 87% of US adults have overweight or obesity, with non-Hispanic black adults having higher obesity and T2D prevalence than non-Hispanic white. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) demonstrated the clinical benefits of lifestyle intervention (LI). While the DPP LI is effective, some participants don't achieve clinically significant weight loss in the current group-based translation paradigm. Black adults have the lowest adjusted weight loss (3.2%) among all racial/ethnic groups. Early intervention nonresponse defined as ≤1% weight loss at intervention week 4 is linked to lower probability of achieving weight loss goals. This paper describes the design and methods of a cluster randomized controlled trial among black weight loss nonresponders nested in 20 community sites (primarily churches). Descriptions of the adaptations made to transition the program to virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic are also included. Trained community health workers deliver a group-based, 6-month long DPP over 18 sessions via Zoom. Additionally, nonresponders in the enhanced group receive weekly telephone support to provide individual-level intervention to help overcome weight loss barriers. Outcomes include weight, physical activity level, blood pressure, and dietary behaviors; these are compared between nonresponders in the enhanced intervention group and nonresponders in the active control group. Cost, mediators, and moderators are explored. If found to efficacious, these enhanced strategies could be standardized as a supplement for use with DPP nonresponders.

COVID-19 , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 , Adult , Humans , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/prevention & control , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Weight Loss , Obesity/epidemiology , Obesity/prevention & control