Louisiana Healthcare Connection announces $2.9M grant to study unmet health needs of diabetes members

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Healthcare Connections announced on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, the award of a five-year, $2.9 million grant to study the impact of unmet basic needs on the health outcomes of members with Type 2 diabetes.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards joined Louisiana Healthcare Connections CEO and Plan President Jamie Schlottman, and Washington University Associate Professor Amy McQueen, PhD—co-principal investigator—to announce the award in Baton Rouge.

Washington University in St. Louis was awarded the grant by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) and will conduct the research in collaboration with the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change and Louisiana Healthcare Connections. The Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change is a cross-sector community-industry-academic health care partnership that advances health solutions to improve lives so that communities can thrive. Investigators will use observational methods and data analysis to examine the type and number of basic needs experienced by Medicaid members and how unmet needs impact health outcomes and healthcare utilization over time.

Based on an initial pilot study that indicated a relationship between unmet basic needs and poor self-management skills required for healthy behaviors, the study will include a randomized trial of 500 Louisiana Healthcare Connections members with Type 2 diabetes to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of providing basic needs navigation as compared with standard care.

During a press conference to announce the grant award held at the state capitol today, Governor Edwards said, “The impact of research funding represents a return on investment that improves health, saves lives and drives growth. Thanks to Medicaid expansion, which I adopted immediately upon taking office, more people have health care coverage and are able to see a primary doctor, many for the first time. Diabetes is a significant problem in our state but as a result of expansion, nearly 11,000 Louisianans have been newly diagnosed and are receiving treatment. This is exciting and the more we learn about this disease the more people we can help. I’m grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to the improved health outcomes for our people.”

In her remarks, McQueen said the adverse effects of unmet basic needs on health are clear, and noted, “We need effective, sustainable solutions that will improve people’s lives and their health. This study takes an important step toward meeting that goal.”

“Insights gleaned from research on the impact of unmet basic needs in our diabetic population will give us a greater understanding of our members’ challenges and provide us with valuable data with which to develop innovative approaches to improving health in Louisiana,” said Schlottman.