News

UMass Medical School experts to present at Association for Behavior Analysis International’s Second Education Conference
November 07, 2013
Janet Twyman chair of Association for Behavior Analysis International conference

The expertise of UMass Medical School faculty and staff in the area of behavior analysis and the role it plays in helping children with disabilities will be featured at the Association for Behavior Analysis International’s (ABAI) Second Education Conference in Chicago.

“Innovations in Education: Apps, Games, Technology and the Science of Behavior”  will take place from Nov. 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 233 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago, IL.

Janet Twyman, PhD, BCBA, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a researcher at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, is both chair and master of ceremonies for the conference. A noted expert in the field of innovative instructional practices for students with disabilities, Twyman will share an invited presentation at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 in Regency Ballroom A&B. “The Intersection of Behavior, Education, and Technology” will explore how behavior analysis and digital education can merge to create opportunities for major changes in both teaching and learning.

Shriver Center faculty will also make presentations on new research-based online learning programs offered by UDiscovering, a UMass Medical School online portal that provides parents, educators and health care providers evidence-based instruction on teaching and caring for children with autism and other disabilities.

UDiscovering is a conference sponsor and will be offering discounts for onsite purchases and raffles for free product licenses.

UMass Medical School will be presenting two electronic posters during a session to be held from 7-7:35 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8 in Regency Ballroom A&B:

Discovering Behavioral Intervention, a Web-Based Interactive Guide for Parents of Children With Autism
Richard K. Fleming, PhD, MPA, UMass Boston
Elaine Gabovitch, MPA, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Melissa C. T. Maslin, MEd, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School    
Maura Buckley, MPA, UHealthSolutions/UDiscovering
Elise A. Stokes, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School

This poster will describe the development and evaluation of the 10-module course, Discovering Behavioral Intervention: A Parent's Interactive Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), designed to provide an effective online education in behavioral intervention for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Online courses may help parents understand the fundamentals of behavioral intervention such that they may better participate in treatment decisions, evaluate outcomes, and conduct interventions. This course has a unique feature of "parent guides" who offer honest advice and share experiences with ABA and their child/family.

Learning ABA!
Richard W. Serna, PhD, UMass Lowell
Richard K. Fleming, PhD, UMass Boston
Harold E. Lobo, PhD, BCBA-D, Praxis Inc.
Cindy K. Fleming, MS, Praxis Inc.
Charles D. Hamad, PhD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School    

This presentation will describe an innovative program of research and development aimed at training paraprofessionals through the use of online distance training. The focus of the program has been on teaching fundamental knowledge and skills in behavioral intervention methods by simulating typical live mentor/mentee training. To help build skills, the program makes use of unique simulation exercises, in which the user directly interacts with an onscreen child from a first-person perspective. Program evaluation data from multiple studies will be summarized that demonstrate both knowledge acquisition and transfer of computer based skills to live performances.

UMass Medical School health care experts present at 2013 American Public Health Association Conference
November 04, 2013

Health policy experts and researchers from UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division will present at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition in Boston.

More than 15 presentations from faculty and staff will be featured throughout the five-day conference, with topics including health care reform, disability research, patient-centered medical homes, tobacco cessation and substance abuse treatment.

This year’s annual APHA will take place from Nov. 2-6 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston. Below is a complete list of presentations featuring Commonwealth Medicine experts.

Note: Conference attendees can find the exact locations of presentations by picking up a program at “Program Pick-up”, located in the North Lobby of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Attendees can also download the APHA mobile app to access more information.

Sunday, November 3

Economic wellbeing and life satisfaction among working and non-working adults with disabilities
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Monika Mitra, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
John Gettens, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Jianying Zhang, MD. MPH, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Poster Presentation

Physical activity correlates among adolescents with and without intellectual disabilities
Heidi Stanish, PhD, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, UMass Boston
Carol Curtin, MSW, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Aviva Must, PhD, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
Sarah Phillips, MPH, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
Charmaine Lo, MPH, Clinical and Population Health Research Program, UMass Medical School Linda Bandini, RD, PhD , Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Poster Presentation

Utility of mortality surveillance in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Heidi Stanish, PhD, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Alexandra Bonardi, OTR/L, MHA, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Poster Presentation                                        

Monday, November 4

Chronicling the journey to CHW certification in Massachusetts
Durrell Fox, BS, CHW, New England AIDS Education and Training Center, UMass Medical School
8:30-10 a.m.
Oral Presentation

Identifying persons with disabilities to improve access and coverage under the Affordable Care Act
John Gettens, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
A. E. Adams, PhD, Disability Evaluation Services, UMass Medical School
Peter Mosbach, PhD, Disability Evaluation Services, UMass Medical School
Sherry Campanelli, MPA, Disability Evaluation Services, UMass Medical School
Laura Newhall, MA, CRC, Disability Evaluation Services, UMass Medical School
Philip Barrell, LPN, Disability Evaluation Services, UMass Medical School
9-9:15 a.m.
Oral presentation

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): New Developments
Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
9-9:15 a.m.
Oral presentation

Uncovering the evidence:  Systematic review of interventions to reduce oral health disparities between adults with intellectual disability and the general population
Christine Clifford, MHP, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Alexandra Bonardi, OTR/L, MHA, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Matthew Holder, MD, MBA, AADMD, Prospect, KY
Nancy Harger, RN, MS LIS, Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Medical School,
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Oral presentation

Disparities in adverse preconception risk factors between women with and without disabilities
Monika Mitra, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Jianying Zhang, MD, MPH, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Oral presentation

Impact of a smarter lunchroom intervention on food selection and consumption among adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a residential school setting
Kristie Hubbard, PhD, MPH, RD, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University,
Linda Bandini, PhD, RD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Sara Folta, PhD, John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
Brian Wansink, PhD, Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University
Misha Eliasziw, PhD, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
Aviva Must, PhD, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Oral presentation

Improving family-centered mental health care by supporting siblings of children and adolescents admitted for psychiatric hospitalization
Emily Rubin, MA, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Elisa Friedman, MS, Institute for Community Health
Adele Pressman, MD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance
Kathleen Regan, BSN, MHA, NE-BC, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance
Heidi Katz, MA DMT, Whidden Campus, Cambridge Health Alliance
Hillary Black, BA, Couples and Family Clinic, Central Street Health Center, Cambridge Health Alliance
Jacob Venter, MD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Oral presentation

Tuesday, November 5

Factors associated with frequent emergency department visits and hospitalizations among homeless people with Medicaid: Implications for health care reforms
Wen-Chieh Lin, PhD, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Boston, MA
Robin Clark, PhD, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Elizabeth O'Connell, MS, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Jianying Zhang, MD, MPH, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Robert L. Taube, PhD, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Boston, MA
8:30-8:50 a.m.
Oral presentation

Health Surveillance in the population with Intellectual Disability: case definition in state level data
Alexandra Bonardi, OTR/L, MHA, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Emily Lauer, MPH, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Holly Hill, PhD, Statistics and Epidemiology, RTI International
Ellen Bishop, PhD, RTI International
Christine Hill, RTI International
Lisa Kilpatrick, RTI International
8:30-8:45 a.m.
Oral presentation

Health of people with intellectual disabilities: Can it be surveilled through existing data?
Andrew J. Houtenville, PhD , Department of Economics, University of New Hampshire
Eric A. Lauer, MPH, Institute On Disability, University of New Hampshire
Amanda Reichard, PhD, KU Research and Training Center on Independent Living and University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Kansas
Emily Lauer, MPH, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
Alexandra Bonardi, OTR/L, MHA , Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, UMass Medical School
8:45- 9:00 a.m.
Oral presentation

Does prior authorization of buprenorphine/naloxone save money or reduce diversion?
Robin Clark, PhD, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
1:00-1:15 p.m.
Oral presentation

Impact of individual characteristics, family structure and family process on employment among youth with a history of receiving supplemental security income (SSI) benefits
Linda Long-Bellil, PhD, JD, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Parag Kunte, MPH, Center for Health Policy & Research, UMass Medical School
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Jianying Zhang, MD, MPH, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Bruce Barton, PhD, Quantitative Health Sciences, UMass Medical School
Megan Northup, Center for Health Policy & Research, UMass Medical School
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Oral presentation

An update on the effects of tobacco cessation services on smoking rates among Massachusetts Medicaid recipients
John Gettens, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Monika Mitra, PhD, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Oral presentation

Computer-based training for improving caregiver support of preventive health screenings in adults with intellectual disabilities
Courtney Noblett-Dutra, MPA, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, UMass Medical School
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Poster presentation

Wednesday, November 6

Adoption of medical home characteristics: Interim results from the Massachusetts Patient-Centered Medical Home Initiative (MA PCMHI)
Bruce Barton, PhD, Quantitative Health Sciences, UMass Medical School
Robin Clark, PhD, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Judith Steinberg, MD, MPH, Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Medical School
Ann Lawthers, SM, ScD, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
11:30-11:45 a.m.
Oral presentation

Early findings from the Massachusetts Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative
Linda Cabral, MM, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Teresa Anderson, PhD, Center for Health Policy and Research, UMass Medical School
Laura Sefton, UMass Medical School
12:30-12:45 p.m.
Oral presentation

Commonwealth Medicine division helps New York State recoup $211 million from the federal government
November 01, 2013

The Center for Health Care Financing, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, assisted the state of New York in identifying more than $496 million in erroneous Medicaid payments and helped the state recover $211 million from the federal government.

According to a press release issued by the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, the $211 million payment represents the state’s share of the Medicaid funds and is the largest single monetary recovery in the agency’s history. The New York State Department of Health’s Fiscal Group received funds on October 1, 2013.

The New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General worked in conjunction with UMass Medical School to achieve the refund through the Third-Party Liability Home Health Care Demonstration Project, which focused solely on overpayments relating to these dual-eligible recipients.  The money reflects project efforts during the years 2007-10.

 “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to help the State of New York in its pursuit of payment for these services from the federal government,” said Marc Thibodeau, executive director of UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Care Financing.  The Center works in more than a dozen states helping Medicaid programs manage costs and maximize revenue.

Home health care providers with dual-eligible clients should bill Medicare first, and then bill Medicaid to cover the remaining amount. Once that process is complete, the dual-eligible recipient’s bill is paid in full.

“As in most cases, Medicaid is the payer of last resort for dual-eligible recipients,” Medicaid Inspector General James C. Cox explained. “In the cases reflected in these overpayments, bills for these home health care patients were inadvertently sent to Medicaid before first sending them to Medicare and following the correct process. Through the demonstration project, we were able to prove that Medicaid was overcharged and recover the money.”

Jason Helgerson, director of New York’s Medicaid program said, “This finding is further validation of the path set forward by the Medicaid Redesign Team of moving all services and populations into high-quality managed care, which will help to ensure that New York will contain costs within the Medicaid program. We are thankful for the work of the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and the University of Massachusetts to accomplish these savings.”

This process is an example of government efficiency and process improvement in action. In the project’s initial phases, beginning in 2000, the traditional approach had been to examine each questionable dual-eligible claim on a claim-by-claim basis. This became overwhelmingly cumbersome. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to allow OMIG and UMass Medical School to employ a sampling methodology, enabling project staff to use a 200-case sample universe of claims for dual-eligible beneficiaries who received home care services paid by Medicaid for each year audited.

Following the establishment of the sampling methodology, OMIG and UMass Medical School staff applied an extrapolation technique to calculate payments that New York State Medicaid had made that should instead have been made by Medicare first. “The administrative burden posed by the claim-by-claim approach had been enormous,” Cox added. “The extrapolation and sampling technique are standard processes used in professional auditing, and it makes sense that we were able to employ this technique to achieve the success of this project.”

“This is tremendous news for New York,” Cox said. “It reflects the tenacity and hard work of the staff within OMIG’s Third-Party Liability Unit to enforce regulations that dictate that Medicaid is the payer of last resort in dual-eligibility cases.” New York was one of three states, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut, to join with the UMass Medical School in this project; the total reported here reflects only New York State’s portion of the recoveries.

Michigan awards contract to UMass Medical School to ensure residents receive appropriate federal benefits
October 23, 2013
State of Michigan awarded Center for Health Care Financing a contract.

The State of Michigan has awarded UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Care Financing (CHCF) a contract to assist with cost control of Michigan’s Medicaid program by helping the state maximize access to federal Medicare benefits for eligible residents.

As part of its three-year, $3 million agreement with the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Center’s work will include:

  1. Identifying Medicaid beneficiaries eligible for Medicare
  2. Enhancing outreach efforts to enroll Medicaid members in Medicare
  3. Reviewing individual entitlement and financial records available from the federal government to identify missed benefit determinations
  4. Ensuring that millions of dollars paid by Michigan in Medicare Part A and Part B premiums on behalf of low-income individuals through the Medicare Savings Programs are accurate

The Michigan Department of Community Health selected CHCF from several competitive bidders because it is part of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, which focuses on improving the financing of public health care programs.  CHCF’s unique expertise in the areas of third-party liability, program integrity and federal benefit eligibility determination helps states ensure that Medicaid is the appropriate payer of health services. 

In 2009, research conducted by the Center identified that the Social Security Administration was incorrectly denying thousands of people federal benefits to which they were entitled.  This work resulted in more than $250 million in credits to states throughout the country, including nearly $9 million in Medicare premium credits returned to Michigan.

The Affordable Care Act calls for Medicaid to serve as the cornerstone for expanding access to health insurance for millions of uninsured Americans. As states prepare for the full implementation of health care reform in 2014, efforts to manage state health care costs have taken on even greater importance.  

Correctional conference to feature keynote from health researcher working to transform the care of older adults in the criminal justice system
August 21, 2013
7th Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health March 20-21, 2014

Brie Williams, MD, MS, a leader in medical care for older adults in the criminal justice system, will serve as the keynote speaker of the 7th Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health. With a focus on “Chronic Illness Management Strategies in an Aging Population,” the conference will be held from March 20-21, 2014 at the Hilton Houston North in Texas.

The conference, created by UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, will be co-hosted in Houston by the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Williams is an associate professor of medicine and associate director of the Program for the Aging Century at the University of California, San Francisco. A clinician-researcher and educator in UCSF’s Division of Geriatrics, Williams collaborates with professionals in the criminal justice, correctional health and legal fields to apply the principles of geriatrics and palliative medicine in transforming the care of older adults in the criminal justice system.

The conference will also feature plenary speaker Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, MS, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Binswanger, who conducts research on health and the criminal justice system, has used epidemiologic and qualitative methods to examine the health of prison and jail inmates and the transition from prison to the community. Her research also focuses on developing and testing interventions to prevent the medical complications of drug use, such as overdose. 

A product of UMass Medical School’s Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, the conference provides a forum for emphasizing the importance of connecting academic research and correctional health policy and showcases research and best practices in correctional health settings.

All professionals who work in the areas of criminal justice health are welcome at the conference, which draws an international audience of hundreds of researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policy makers and grant funding leaders to network and learn.

The conference is funded in part by a scientific meeting award from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It also sponsored by The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation

For more information, including how to apply for scholarships and submit papers, visit the conference website, http://www.correctionalhealthconference.com/.