After the Demonstration: What States Sustained After the End of Federal Grants to Improve Children’s Health Care Quality

Publisher: Maternal and Child Health Journal (online ahead of print)
Nov 08, 2017
Henry T. Ireys, Cindy Brach, Grace Anglin, Kelly J. Devers, and Rachel Burton

Introduction.Under the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grant Program, CMS awarded $100 million through 10 grants that 18 state Medicaid agencies implemented between 2010 and 2015. The program’s legislatively-mandated purpose was to evaluate promising ideas for improving the quality of children’s health care provided through Medicaid and CHIP. As part of the program’s multifaceted evaluation, this study examined the extent to which states sustained key program activities after the demonstration ended.

Methods. We identified 115 potentially sustainable elements within states’ CHIPRA demonstrations and analyzed data from grantee reports and key informant interviews to assess sustainment outcomes and key influential factors. We also assessed sustainment of the projects’ intellectual capital.

Results. 56% of potentially sustainable elements were sustained. Sustainment varied by topic area: Elements related to quality measure reporting and practice facilitation were more likely to be sustained than others, such as parent advisors. Broad contextual factors, the state’s Medicaid environment, implementation partners’ resources, and characteristics of the demonstration itself all shaped sustainment outcomes.

Discussion. Assessing sustainment of key elements of states’ CHIPRA quality demonstration projects provides insight into the fates of the “promising ideas” that the grant program was designed to examine. As a result of the federal government’s investment in this grant program, many demonstration states are in a strong position to extend and spread specific strategies for improving the quality of care for children in Medicaid and CHIP. Our findings provide insights for policymakers and providers working to improve the quality of health care for low income children.