Examples from Ohio and Pennsylvania

Executive Summary

This fact sheet contains examples of Medical Care Advisory Committees from Ohio and Pennsylvania.

MCACs in Pennsylvania and Ohio are effective parts of the Medicaid program. This fact sheet describes how they work. 
How are these MCACs structured? 
 
Pennsylvania?s Medical Assistance Advisory Committee (MAAC) has 15 to 25 members appointed by the Secretary of the Department of PublicWelfare (DPW). The MAAC meets ten times a yearin the state capital. A subcommittee of the MAAC focuses on consumer issues.
 
The agenda usually includes a DPW presentation on new issues and proposed changes. Subcommittees, including the consumer subcommittee, make reports and recommendations. The consumer subcommittee gets advice from its legal counsel, the Pennsylvania Health Law Project. The meetings are open to the public, and there is time for public comment.
 
Ohio?s MCAC has 15 to 30 members who are chosen based on their ?individual knowledge and interest? in health programs, ?rather than serving as a representative of a specific group or organization.? Members are appointed by the Director of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The MCAC has a regular yearly cycle ofreports from staff and outside experts about the Medicaid program and also addresses current topical issues.It meets every other month. The public audience often exceeds the committee membership and the public is encouraged to participate in discussions.
 
The Ohio MCAC:
 
  • Reviews and makes recommendations on Medicaid, SCHIP and other publicly?funded health care programs;
  • Identifies unmet needs;
  • Helps with program planning and evaluations of service problems, policy issues, and concerns of providers and consumers;
  • Helps the Medicaid agency improve communication and education; and
  • Provides written reports and recommendations.
 
What do consumer representatives do on these MCACs? 
 
In Pennsylvania, members of the Consumer Subcommittee are Medicaid beneficiaries, parents of a beneficiary, or consumer advocates. Now, about one third of the members are African American; the rest, white. About halflive in urban or suburban places while the other half are ruralresidents. Members representing low?income beneficiaries serve along with those representing people with disabilities. The state Medicaid agency pays fortravel to meetings so consumers can meetface?to?face. Members with various interests reach consensus and haven?t allowed themselves to be pitted against each other.
 
The Consumer Subcommittee meets prior to the meeting of the full MAAC. During this meeting, the Subcommittee sets its agenda, gets legal advice, discusses the positions it will take, and raises issues forinvestigation. 
Ohio consumer advocates and representatives who sit on the MCAC find it useful both as a source of information and as a vehicle to raise issues with the state. In addition to providing members with improved access to Medicaid staff, it also gives members the standing to request additionalreports and information about the program. State officials have the chance to float ideas and get a sense of how various groups mightreact before they decide to announce a proposal broadly.
 
How have consumers on MCACs made a difference? 
 
Recently, the Pennsylvania Consumer Subcommittee has been involved in issues including complaint procedures, managed care quality, consumer outreach, provider reimbursement, access to services, Medicaid contracting, and budget priorities. 
In Ohio,recent committee work has looked at pharmacy and dental services, budget priorities, chronic homelessness, managed care for additional populations, medical homes, and co?payments. They have also considered proposed changes in the state?funded Disability Medical Assistance program.
 
Where can I get more information? 
 
Ohio?s web site:
The National Health Law Program can give you more information. Please contact one of our offices: Chapel Hill, North Carolina (919?968?6771) or Los Angeles, California (310?204?6010). There is no charge for our services.

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