UMass Medical School health policy expert to talk at Harvard about impact of digital health on Medicaid work requirements

October 11, 2018

Rachel Gershon, JD, MPH, a leading expert on legal and policy analysis regarding Medicaid, health reform, and social services, will be the featured speaker on Medicaid work requirements for an upcoming Digital Health @ Harvard speaker series.

Gershon, senior associate at the Center for Health Law and Economics at UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, will lead “Determining Disability: Medicaid Work Requirements and What the Limits of Digital Health Mean for Recipients, Providers, and States” on Oct. 16 from 12-1:15 p.m.

Gershon is a featured speaker at the Digital Health @ Harvard brown bag lunch series co-hosted by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics.

During her presentation, Gershon will discuss the intricacies of disability determination; the limitations of data availability; and the implications for public policy, which came into focus in 2018.

This year, several states applied for and received permission from the federal government to institute work requirements for their Medicaid programs. While policy design varies by state, all include exemptions and exceptions from work requirements for people who cannot work due to a disability.

Determining whether an ailment, illness or condition qualifies as a disability is a complex, multi-pronged process that takes time. Diagnoses and disability determinations can lag behind symptoms by months or years, and medical records don’t always paint the whole picture, limiting states’ ability to readily identify those who are unable to work.

Waiting for a diagnosis or a disability determination limits access to health care for individuals with disabilities, excluding those in need of medical intervention in error. Gershon will discuss how the limits of disability determinations adds to the growing critique of Medicaid work requirements.

For more information, visit Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center website. To sign up for the event, please fill out this short form.

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