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Prevalence and correlates of unmet medical and social needs in Virginia's Medicaid managed long term services and supports program

Marks SJ, Saunders H, Shadowen H, McCray N, Bachireddy C, Dagenhart S, Brown S, Guerra L, Cunningham PJ
Med Care

BACKGROUND: Medicaid Long Term Services and Support (LTSS) programs serve individuals with complex medical and social needs. Increasingly, state Medicaid programs are contracting with managed care organizations to administer LTSS programs.

OBJECTIVES: Understand the prevalence of and risk factors for unmet medical and social needs among a sample of patients within a Medicaid managed LTSS program.

METHODS: We surveyed a cross-sectional random sample of 798 community-residing individuals over 21 in Virginia who were served by the state Medicaid managed LTSS program. Outcomes of interest include 3 distinct medical needs: medical appointments, medical transportation, and prescriptions; 4 distinct social needs: housing security, food security, utility bills, and nonmedical transportation, and composite measures of unmet social and medical needs.

RESULTS: We found that 12.5% of our sample had any unmet medical need, while far more (62.2%) of our sample had any unmet social needs, with food insecurity being the most common. We found that members of color had almost 2 times the odds of having both unmet social and medical needs [social: adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 2.21; 95% confidence Interval (CI): (1.59, 3.09); medical aOR: 2.25 ; 95% CI: (1.34, 3.8)].

CONCLUSION: Medicaid members may not be fully realizing the potential of LTSS programs and would benefit from both Medicaid agency and managed care organizations' strategies aimed at addressing social drivers of health. To achieve health equity for LTSS members of color, Medicaid agencies may consider policies specifically targeting racial disparities.

Marks SJ, Saunders H, Shadowen H, et al. Prevalence and correlates of unmet medical and social needs in virginia's medicaid managed long term services and supports program. Med Care. 2024;62(2):93-101. DOI:10.1097/mlr.0000000000001957. PMID: 38063515

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Social Needs/ SDH
Social Determinant of Health
Health Care Access
Housing Stability
Study design
Other Study Design