Achieving the full potential of ACA will depend on the ability of the states to effectively implement the law’s coverage-related policies within the confines of their unique budget challenges, leadership capacity, existing health care infrastructures and health insurance markets. The State Network provides technical assistance to selected states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia), working with newly formed health insurance exchanges, Medicaid agencies, insurance departments and other state agencies to effectively implement ACA’s coverage expansions. These states are politically and demographically diverse, and represent various states of readiness to implement ACA, which will ensure the development of varied forms of successful implementation that can serve as models for other states.
The State Network deploys a multidisciplinary team of technical experts to work directly with state officials on ACA implementation. These experts come from leading national organizations, including the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, Manatt Health Solutions, the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota and Wakely Consulting Group. The State Network coordinates the assistance to states by these leading national organizations with a focus on the major coverage-related provisions of ACA, including: setting up insurance exchanges, instituting insurance market reforms, expanding Medicaid to newly eligible populations, streamlining eligibility and enrollment systems, and using data to drive policy decisions.
The following State Network team members at Princeton and SCI manage the technical assistance to states:
• Heather Howard, State Network program director, brings a wealth of experience in both federal and state government to the State Network and the Woodrow Wilson School. She is a lecturer in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing. She most recently served as the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services, a cabinet level agency with a budget of approximately $3.5 billion. There she was responsible for oversight of public health services, regulation of health care institutions, hospital financing, senior services and health care policy and research. Her prior public policy experience includes work in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and the Health Care Task Force within the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Justice Department. Heather received a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
• Chad Shearer, State Network deputy director, coordinates technical assistance as a state liaison to Alabama, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia while assisting Heather in directing and organizing the State Network. Chad also lectures in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He previously served as senior program officer at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), where he was deputy director of the Medicaid Leadership Institute. Prior to joining CHCS, Chad worked on Capitol Hill for the chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. In that role, he was responsible for Medicare managed care and prescription drug policy. Chad also served as a David A. Winston Health Policy Fellow with the Subcommittee on Health, focusing on coverage initiatives. He received his J.D. and Master of Health Administration degrees from the University of Iowa, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Coe College.
• Enrique Martinez-Vidal, State Network liaison, leads and coordinates the State Network team housed at SCI while also acting as a state liaison to New Mexico and Rhode Island. At AcademyHealth, Enrique serves as vice president for state policy and technical assistance. He is also the director of State Coverage Initiatives, another RWJF program. In May 2010, he was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board. Previously Enrique was the deputy director for performance and benefits at the Maryland Health Care Commission, an independent state agency. He was also formerly a policy analyst with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services staffing the House Economic Matters Committee for five years. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international studies from Dickinson College and a Master’s of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University.
• Isabel Friedenzohn, State Network state liaison, serves as a state liaison by coordinating the technical assistance needs of Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan. Isabel is the deputy director of State Coverage Initiatives program (SCI) which provides timely, experience- and research-based information and technical assistance to state leaders in order to help them move health care reform forward at the state level. Ms. Friedenzohn has over ten years of experience providing technical assistance and coaching to state health policy professionals exploring a wide variety of health policy reforms. Isabel joined AcademyHealth in October 2001 after receiving a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
• Hilary Kennedy, State Network senior associate, coordinates the dissemination of State Network technical assistance and resources. She is the state liaison to Colorado and New York. Hilary works on the State Coverage Initiatives program to help state policy makers expand health coverage in their states. She also staffed the State Quality Improvement Institute (a collaboration between AcademyHealth and The Commonwealth Fund), which offered technical assistance to a small group of states who have made substantial commitments to quality improvement. Prior to joining AcademyHealth, Ms. Kennedy worked as a researcher at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, where she focused on various issues related to nutrition policy and labeling regulations. Ms. Kennedy received a Master of Science in Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. She earned a B.A. in government from the University of Virginia.
• Dana Chesla, State Network research associate, is based at the Woodrow Wilson School. She assists in coordinating technical assistance in Alabama, Oregon, and Virginia. Before joining State Network in September 2012, Dana worked as a research associate for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project, Aligning Forces for Quality: Hospital Quality Network. Previously, she worked as a health policy researcher for the March of Dimes Foundation and Women In Government. Dana holds a Master of Public Health – Health Policy degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Michigan.
• Rebecca Normile, State Network research assistant, serves as the research assistant for the State Network team based at State Coverage Initiatives. She provides logistical and substantive support to the State Network and its coordination of technical assistance. Prior to joining the State Network, she served as an AmeriCorps Member at Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana, a network of six Federally Qualified Health Centers in Southeast Louisiana. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health from Temple University.
• Brian Shott, State Network research assistant, is based at the Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to joining State Network in February 2014, Brian worked as a Legislative Aide for New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney. He also previously served as an Intern in the office of New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. Brian received his Master of Arts degree in political science from Temple University, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Rutgers University.