Medicaid provides coverage for over 70 million Americans and serves as the backbone of the health care safety net. Comparing access, quality and costs across state Medicaid programs can provide much-needed information to state policymakers. Yet, there are a number of barriers to sharing data between states. AcademyHealth’s Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network (MODRN) is a collaborative effort to analyze data across multiple states to facilitate learning among Medicaid agencies. Participants from AcademyHealth’s State-University Partnership Learning Network (SUPLN) and the Medicaid Medical Director Network (MMDN) developed MODRN to allow states to participate in valuable and timely, multi-state data analyses, while retaining their own data and analytic capacity.

The MODRN model enables efficient, high-quality analyses of multiple states’ Medicaid data while ensuring the security of health information. A distributed research network is composed of multiple organizations using a common data model to support centralized development, but local execution, of analytic programs. Under MODRN, each state-university partnership adopts the Medicaid Common Data Model, contributes to a common analytic plan, and conducts analyses locally on their own Medicaid data using standardized code developed by the data coordinating center. Finally, the state-university partners provide aggregate results, not data, to the data coordinating center which synthesizes the aggregate findings from multiple states for reporting. The Medicaid Common Data Model will be continually updated and expanded for future Medicaid research projects.

AcademyHealth provides support through the management of MODRN’s Coordinating Center, providing key organization functions, including supervising the governance structures, convening MODRN committee calls and meetings, and facilitating communication with state members. This team provides the same support and oversight for all MODRN research projects.

Opioid Use Disorder Project
State Medicaid programs play a critical role in financing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) as they provide coverage for 4 in 10 individuals with OUD. States are currently taking myriad approaches to addressing the opioid crisis by changing the way they regulate providers, pay for care, and cover evidence-based treatments in Medicaid. However, there exists no analytic infrastructure for learning about the impact of state policy experimentation on OUD treatment and outcomes as states have no mechanism for sharing data or measurement tools. With funding from NIDA, we are using MODRN state-university partnerships in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. These states account for almost 17 million (24% of) Medicaid enrollees, and the partnerships have access to complete and recent Medicaid data. Our objectives are to provide a comprehensive assessment of OUD treatment quality and outcomes in Medicaid, and to inform policy decisions on coverage and payment for evidence-based OUD treatments in Medicaid.

This work is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) R01DA048029.


Julie Donohue

Julie Donohue, Ph.D.

Director - Medicaid Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh

Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D., is the principal lead on AcademyHealth's Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Netwo... Read Bio

Logan headshot

Logan Sheets

Research Assistant - AcademyHealth

Logan Sheets joined AcademyHealth in June 2019 as a Research Assistant supporting the State Health Policy and ... Read Bio