Promising Practices in a Time of Budget Stringency

With budget conditions continuing to worsen over the course of the Covering Kids & Families (CKF) program, several states adopted cost containment measures to reduce expenses in their Medicaid and SCHIP programs. Not surprisingly, CKF grantees felt pressure to redirect and scale back their efforts, as well as develop a range of cost-effective methods to continue enrolling children in public health insurance programs.

To develop a broader understanding of the types of activities grantees’ were pursuing during these difficult economic times, and to assess the extent to which state budget cuts have impacted CKF, the evaluators reviewed grantee reports from the CKF online reporting system. For this highlight memo, the evaluators set out to answer the following research questions:

  • What policy changes have been made to states’ Medicaid/SCHIP programs as a result of the state budget crises (as identified by grantees in the online system)?
  • What are CKF grantees reporting as their promising practices?
  • Are the promising practices identified by grantees in states reporting the most severe budget cuts different than those identified by grantees in states reporting either less severe or no budget cuts?

To answer these questions, they reviewed the two most recent quarterly and workplan reports from 45 state grantees and approximately 134 local grantees. All reports were submitted between June 2002 and June 2003. Specifically, they analyzed the “Environment” section of the quarterly reports where grantees are asked to describe any policy changes that have impacted their efforts, and the “Promising Practices” sections of the workplans where grantees are asked to list their promising practices in the areas of outreach, simplification and coordination.

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