Many states are using Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers to expand and/or modify their Medicaid programs to serve their populations. With this increase in activity, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is focusing on the ability of these waivers to improve care delivery and health outcomes. Thus, the quality of evaluations of these waivers is critical and will benefit from using the designs, data and methods that respond to the information needs of various stakeholders, and balance rigor, relevance, timeliness and efficiency.  

AcademyHealth, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, leads a learning collaborative of Medicaid demonstration evaluation researchers aimed at examining the policy questions, study designs, data and methodologies associated with waiver evaluations. Informed by an October 2017 meeting of key stakeholder experts convened by AcademyHealth, this Learning Collaborative strives to address and align key research questions, policy implementation ramifications, data issues and methodological challenges identified as critical to effectively assessing the impacts of potential waivers. Over 18 months, with guidance from a multi-stakeholder  Advisory Group, the learning collaborative supports state policymakers and their teams of experts in designing and/or implementing Section 1115 demonstration waivers and ensuring they address the requirements for monitoring and evaluating those waiver proposals. By fostering shared learning, the collaborative aims to help states incorporate robust monitoring and evaluation strategies into their waiver proposals. In addition, the Learning Collaborative aims to promote similar approaches across waiver evaluations to allow for greater comparability across states.