HSITAG Membership Supports Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference

The national health and human services community came together again for another outstanding annual Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) August 19th through 22nd in “the heart of America,” Chicago, Illinois.  HSITAG members were out in full force to join MESC in promoting collaboration across federal, state and local organizations.  Every year, MESC sets the framework for the national Medicaid conversation, and for three days, a series of focused tracts for state, local and industry peer groups were conducted with the sole purpose of sharing ideas and information related to Medicaid systems and initiatives


A North Star

Julie Boughn, Director of CMS Data and Systems Group, and John Doerr, author of Measure What Matters spoke to about the cornerstone of CMS’ national MES reform strategy:  data driven decision making.  John provide an overview his simple but powerful goal setting system: Objectives and Key Results (OKR).  His #1 New York Times best seller outlines his journey over four decades to use OKR’s to help transform the world with organizations like Google, the Gates Foundation and yes, Bono. Julie and John led a live workshop with the entire general session audience to illustrate the use of his OKR system and captured three transformational Medicaid objectives (“the what”) and key results (“the how”) for each objective.     

A Nod to Diversity

One of the most heartwarming conversations was facilitated by Sarah Miller and Carol J. Sharp with the @GirlsIncChicago https://girlsincofchicago.org/  that provide programs to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Five accomplished members of the Bold Girls Society each told their personal story and lifted the entire general session up with hope and inspiration. 

Divide and Conquer

Over the course of the three-day conference, more than 1,600 conference attendees attended breakout tracks and sessions focused on seven key MESC themes.  The goal of the sessions was to engage, educate and empower MESC attendees to share innovations, best practices and assets that are being implemented across the country to transform Medicaid programs and systems.  These collaborative sessions focused on the attendees’ shared mission that included: 

  • Health Care Innovations: Sessions that described and informed participants about new and disruptive technologies being applied to MES.
  • Medicaid Innovation: How new Medicaid policies and program initiatives affect MES and how MES can enhance those initiatives.
  • Operations and Compliance: Highlighted MES modules being implemented to meet current State Medicaid business needs.
  • Procurement and Contracting: Understanding options for purchasing MES services or technology and “lessons learned” from contractual and procurement processes.
  • Interoperability: Advances in MES data exchange initiatives and the connection between social determinates of health and Medicaid and cross program healthcare coordination.
  • Data and Analytics: Encompassed how to effectively access data, making data actionable, and to use data to promote effective Medicaid operations.
  • Third Party Liability: State representatives of the Third-Party Liability Technical Assistance Group to share experiences and meet MES program objective.

MESC session presentations are available and have been uploaded to the MESC Google Drive folder.

Spotlighting Success

Consistent with the theme of collaboration and innovation, MESC hosted the annual Poster Board Session in the Exhibit Hall to spotlight individual states and highlight their MES successes.  Each state displays their MESC story board and participants can engage in one on one conversations about that state’s MES priorities, approach and accomplishments.  It is a casual, interactive format that allows participants ask questions, take away new ideas and build relationships that last well after the conference.       

It’s Not All About Work

Creating a sense of community at MESC goes beyond the formal agenda and educational sessions.  An important part of MESC is to enjoy the host city, its great venues and each other.  And there was no shortage of things to do.  Take in a Cubs game, an architectural tour of the city, a boat ride on Lake Michigan, or enjoy some Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza.  MESC vendors generously hosted a wide range of parties and events, almost too many to list.  These informal events create bonds for professionals dedicated to Medicaid but also form personal friendships that enrich us all.    

Inspiration and Commitment

As MESC 2019 came to close, we left Chicago with a renewed sense community, collaboration and a collective commitment to continue to improve the national Medicaid program and the systems that support it.  While we each play our small role in incremental and modular innovations, but as a community we can change the world.  A big thank you to MESC Planning Committee, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago for a great MESC 2019.  See everyone next year for MESC 2020 in Baltimore.

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