Amy Rohling McGee, President of Health Policy Institute of Ohio, shared a presentation on “Improving Health Value in Ohio.” In a recap interview, Amy addresses the following questions:
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What is the mission of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio?
The mission of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio is to provide the independent and nonpartisan analysis needed to create evidence and form State Health Policy.
How does OHIO rank in overall health?
We look at metrics related to both overall health of the population of the state of Ohio and health care spending. Our analysis of those metrics found that Ohio ranks 46th on health value, which means that many other states are performing better than us in both health outcomes and in health care spending.
That doesn’t sound good. What needs to change?
Researchers have estimated that our health is influenced by a number of modifiable contributors. About 20% of our own is influenced by clinical care, meaning access to care and quality of care. About 40% of our health is influenced by our social and economic environment, 10% by our physical environment, and 30% by our health behaviors and choices. So while we have focused a lot on improving access to clinical care, and that’s critically important if you’re sick or if you have an accident or injury, we really need to be focusing on all of those other categories and making sure that people have jobs with good incomes, decent education so that they can get those kinds of jobs, people are making good healthy decisions, and live in places that are conducive to making those healthy decisions.
How can brokers and their employer clients help improve outcomes?
I think, one, by understanding all of the factors that influence health and knowing that just providing access to health insurance alone isn’t going to be enough to move the needle on health outcomes. Some other things like the environment in which people are working, make a difference. For example, offering where possible, flexibility and scheduling so that people can manage stress and take care of their family concerns. That is something that is conducive to health. Also, just having paid time off in order to take care of your own health or the health of your family, also makes a difference to health. The kinds of food; if you’re a large employer and you have a cafeteria or a food service, the kinds of food that you’re serving and whether the workplace is conducive to movement, and getting a little bit of fresh air during the day. All of these things influence people’s health and need to also get attention, in addition to health insurance benefits.
What can you share about the requirement to work Medicaid waiver being considered?
The Ohio Department of Medicaid has submitted a waiver request to the federal government, to institute work requirements for certain people who are on Medicaid. Those who would not be held to those work requirements are people who have chronic health conditions, people who may be getting treatment for addiction or mental health issues. But for others, there would be work requirements put in place. That waiver request is pending with the federal government. So we’re waiting to hear back whether or not that will be allowed here in our state.