Mathematica Policy Research Inc. (MPR) has received AcademyHealth's 2009 Health Services Research Impact Award for the evaluation of the RWJF-funded Cash & Counseling program.
In making the award, AcademyHealth stated that the evaluation, "altered policy-makers' thinking about consumer-directed care, leading the federal government to pass legislation encouraging it, and states to incorporate it into their Medicaid programs." Academy Health also noted that primary investigator, Randall Brown, and a team of Mathematica researchers and programmers "partnered with funders, state program directors and journal editors to complete and disseminate highly-impactful research on this innovative approach to providing home-based personal assistance to Medicaid beneficiaries who are frail or have disabilities."
Cash & Counseling offers Medicaid consumers with disabilities choices for obtaining help at home. The program provides a flexible monthly allowance based on an individualized budget, allowing consumers to directly manage personal assistance services and address their specific needs. In addition, this program offers counseling and fiscal assistance to help consumers personally manage their allowance and responsibilities.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly funded this evaluation and demonstration in Arkansas, New Jersey and Florida.
Highlights from the evaluation include:
- Cash & Counseling significantly reduced the unmet needs of Medicaid consumers who require personal assistance services.
- Cash & Counseling workers and home care agency workers felt equally prepared to do the job expected of them, while Cash & Counseling workers were twice as likely as agency workers to report satisfaction with their compensation.
- Nursing facility use was lower for the Cash & Counseling participants than for the control group during the follow-up period.