Children’s hospitals must coordinate with state Medicaid programs to ensure continued investment in children’s health. Now, more than ever, children’s hospital leaders say it’s difficult to build connections with state Medicaid directors.
Jami Snyder, a former state Medicaid director and national Medicaid expert, offers tips to help hospital leaders navigate the Medicaid landscape.
1. Understand program priorities and state-specific needs.
Stay informed about current program priorities and the needs of your state. Doing so will help hospital leaders choose measures consistent with the state’s overall strategy. Snyder says if a leader walks into a room without this understanding, directors will notice.
Currently, Medicaid programs have focused attention on longstanding issues, including:
- “Unwinding” from continuous enrollment required by the public health emergency.
- Preparing for proposed regulatory changes.
- Providing mandatory continuous enrollment for children in 2024.
- Advancing whole-person care.
- Improving access to behavioral health services.
- Addressing workforce challenges.
2. Invite Medicaid leaders to participate in executive discussions.
Extend an invitation to Medicaid leaders so they can hear about the unique challenges and opportunities of your children’s hospital. Snyder appreciated the opportunity to visit hospitals and learn about hospitals’ plans during her time as a state director.
“Make sure you are bringing Medicaid leaders to your facilities so they are seeing your facility, seeing how you operate and seeing what you do to maintain the stability of your system within your community,” she says.
3. Offer to partner in achieving goals.
Present ways to collaborate with state directors on achieving shared operational, financial or political goals. Snyder says hospital leaders are all influencers on Medicaid programs. Offering support for state directors’ work can bring important visibility to your hospital.
4. Proactively report concerns or issues before they become public.
Transparency is important in any partnership. Share concerns or issues with Medicaid directors before they become public knowledge. This not only allows challenges to be collectively addressed but also leads to early resolution and fosters trust.
5. Provide advance notice of meetings with political officials.
Snyder says it was helpful to know when others were meeting with the governor or policy advisors. This unified approach ensures a coordinated effort to advocate for policy changes that benefit children’s health.
6. Recognize the magnitude and complexity of their work.
As children’s hospitals connect with state Medicaid leaders, understand the challenges they face working within many programs.
“You can imagine the toll that takes on them over time. Recognize that as you are trying to schedule meetings and have those important conversations,” Snyder says.
In developing strong connections with state directors, you can demonstrate why Medicaid and children’s hospitals are essential to all children.
Snyder was a presenter at Children’s Hospital Association’s 2023 Annual Leadership Conference. Experience education sessions like Snyder’s at CHA’s 2024 Transforming Quality Conference, where children’s hospitals will learn to improve children’s health through advancements in data analytics, evolving care systems, creative partnerships and practice improvement efforts.