Andy Slavitt, AVIA will team up to bring innovation to the Medicaid space

By Erin Dietsche | June 1, 2018

Andy Slavitt is joining forces with AVIA, an innovation network for hospitals and health systems, to work on the Medicaid Transformation Project, an initiative geared toward bringing innovation to the Medicaid patient population.

The news was unveiled at the AVIA Network Summit in Chicago on May 22.

It’s no surprise that Slavitt, who served as acting administrator of CMS under the Obama administration, continues to advocate for Medicare and Medicaid patients. At the Summit, he reiterated why this population needs healthcare’s attention.

“Compared to the commercial population, they have relatively ordinary healthcare needs and poor outcomes,” he said.

Let’s say an individual on Medicaid is diabetic. But add to that a housing issue, an acute behavioral need and extreme poverty, and the cost to care for him or her spikes dramatically. Plus, diseases of despair — alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide — greatly impact these patients.

“We dramatically underinvest in innovation in this community,” Slavitt said. “We can change that.”

If the industry can the money and energy that are already invested in reasonably healthy individuals and apply that to the Medicare and Medicaid populations, we will be looking at a pleasantly different healthcare picture down the road.

To that end, Slavitt and AVIA are teaming up on the Medicaid Transformation Project in an effort to tackle this very issue. Though the details revealed at the Summit were sparse, the project will involve health systems from AVIA’s network and will officially launch in September, AVIA president Linda Finkel said.

Slavitt was tapped to serve as a senior adviser to AVIA last May.

Additionally, he unveiled two advocacy projects earlier this year. One, the United States of Care, seeks to ensure all Americans have access to affordable healthcare. Slavitt, who serves as board chair of the non-partisan group, is joined by a number of big names, such as Atul Gawande, Gabrielle Giffords and Andy Richter. The other is Town Hall Ventures, a venture firm investing in technology to support Medicaid and Medicare members.