Augusta Gillespie ’13 conducted research this summer as a Field School Fellow for the Upstate Institute with the Madison County Department of Social Services. The office is preparing to make changes to the way the county implements New York’s Medicaid Plan, following the national passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). New York State Governor Cuomo selected a Medicaid Redesign Team, which suggested that the state assume Medicaid administrative duty from the counties by 2018. The state is now looking to the counties to help create a seamless transition for this process.
At the end of July, the state issued a Statement of Interest to all counties, requesting that the county identify which specific administrative functions they would like to surrender to the state immediately, which they would like to keep short term, and which they would like to keep long term. The state maintains the right to make the ultimate decision, and will take into consideration the requests of the county, but will make decisions based on regional wishes and state capacity.
In anticipation, Augusta researched the implications of the ACA on states and the specific New York State Medicaid Plan. She worked with professionals in the field to recommend the best responses to the Statement of Interest for Madison County. She shared the results of this research and analysis in a report summarizing the Affordable Care Act, the New York State Medicaid Plan, and her findings. Her report included recommendations for how Madison County should respond to the State Health Department’s Statement of Interest, and explanations for those findings. The report was then presented to the Madison County Board of Supervisors, who voted to authorize the Chairman of the Board to follow her recommendations.
Augusta’s project was research-based, but gave her an opportunity to interact with members of the community who are involved in the implementation of Medicaid.
Augusta said she “learned about the demographic of people in Madison County receiving Medicaid, as well as the difficulties these persons undergo while applying for Medicaid through the current system. I had to consider improvements and complications of applying for Medicaid through the new system,” she said.
Augusta’s work on the project this summer will have a positive effect on her plans to go into policy analysis after she graduates from Colgate next year. “My experience working as an Field School Fellow gave skills in reading policy, analyzing it, and researching implications from comparable laws,” said Augusta. “All of this experience will be readily applicable to any policy analysis job.”