January 2021
CHAS eNews
Policy Briefs
Understanding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Autism-Related Service Use Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children
Racial and ethnic disparities are known to exist in access to timely diagnostic services for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a recent publication by a group of researchers including Sarah Sobotka (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago and CHAS Fellow) highlights that most research on the topic does not distinguish between clinical factors that may affect service use and ones that reflect unequal treatment. Studies of the Medicaid program – the single largest payer for autism-related health care services – have focused on the home and community-based services waiver program (HCBS), while far less is known about disparities for children who receive school-based Medicaid-funded services. In this study, the authors examined 2012 Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) data and identified 117,848 continuously enrolled children with ASD. They found several racial and ethnic disparities that varied by geography. Black, Asian, and Native American/Pacific Islander children received fewer outpatient services compared with white children. Black and Asian children also received more school-based services than white children. The largest disparity existed in case management and care coordination and was present in each minority group they examined. Please follow the link below to read the complete article.
The Washington Post: Covid-19 poses special risks to people like my brother-in-law. They need vaccines now.
This month, Harold Pollack (CHAS Co-Director and Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration) wrote an op-ed featured in The Washington Post calling for residents of Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) and their care workers to be given high priority for COVID-19 vaccines. In this piece, Dr. Pollack shares that he and his wife Veronica – a nurse and medical social worker – have seen firsthand how residents of these facilities face increased danger for physical and mental harm as a result of precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not only do many residents of CILAs require routine in-person services that put them and their caretakers at higher risk for COVID-19 infection, but they experience psychological burdens as well. Dr. Pollack writes, "Window visits and Zoom are bewildering. Many are frightened by masks and other forms of personal protective equipment or experience physical distancing as a form of punishment". Furthermore, as vaccines begin to be distributed across the country, it is not clear when residents of CILAs and long-term care facilities will receive vaccines. Please follow the link below to read Dr. Pollack's complete op-ed.
Upcoming eLectures

Bradley Stein, PhD, MD, MPH
RAND Corporation
1/26/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Boaz Keysar, PhD, MA
University of Chicago
2/02/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Jamila Michener, PhD, MA
Cornell University
2/09/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Reuben Miller, PhD
University of Chicago
2/16/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Harold Pollack, PhD
University of Chicago
2/23/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT
CHAS Podcasts
Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System
Dr. Tina Sacks, AM ’98, PhD ’13 Assistant Professor
School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley
Follow CHAS on Social Media for Updates
New Book Release
Halfway Home by Reuben Jonathan Miller (Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service Administration) will be released on February 2nd, 2021. Dr. Miller will also be reading and discussing the book at our Michael M. Davis eLecture on February 16th @ 12:30pm CDT (on Zoom). Get your copy and join us for the event next month!
Now Accepting Applications for 2021 CHAS Seed Grants
The Center for Health Administration Studies (CHAS) at the School of Social Service Administration is proud to offer our Seed Grant program which aims to support promising health services and policy research projects at the University of Chicago. Seed Grants provide modest research funding for a limited time (usually two years) to enable eligible investigators to explore the feasibility of a concept related to the mission of the Center and generate sufficient data to pursue it through other funding mechanisms. Learn more about the Seed Grant program by visiting fundingopportunities.uchicago.edu.

Applications will be accepted now through Friday, April 30th, 2021.
CMS Issues New Roadmap for States to Address the Social Determinants of Health to Improve Outcomes, Lower Costs, Support State Value-Based Care Strategies
On January 7th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to state health officials designed to drive the adoption of strategies that address the social determinants of health (SDOH) in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so states can further improve beneficiary health outcomes, reduce health disparities, and lower overall costs in Medicaid and CHIP. Read the news release and guidance HERE.