Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey provides insight into rural and Appalachian counties

Submitted by CDang on September 11, 2019 - 1:46 pm
Jefferson County Ohio

The Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey (OMAS) is the nation’s largest state-sponsored continual health population survey, reporting comprehensive health characteristics in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. It serves as a vital resource for state and local health-associated agencies to identify gaps in needed health services.

Reporting data from Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties is especially important due to higher levels of poverty and unmet health needs. However, these counties often have smaller populations, making it difficult to sample residents on topics such as health insurance status. Luckily one of the strengths of OMAS is its small area estimations. A poster presented by GRC’s project partner RTI International on “A Practical Guide to Small Area Estimation, Illustrated Using the Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey” was recently awarded best poster presentation at the 2019 Joint Statistical Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
"It can be difficult for officials, foundations, and nonprofit agencies to obtain rapid, actionable information about their local communities, especially in rural areas because these areas often have insufficient survey sample sizes in large statewide and national surveys to produce valid estimates,” said GRC Research Scientist Michael Nau.

“By incorporating outside information from other sources and using sophisticated statistical techniques to blend this information with survey data, small area estimation can extend the power and utility of large, publicly-funded surveys such as OMAS."
The result is that key stakeholders in areas that are often left behind by national and statewide surveys are better able to channel appropriate resources to close gaps in health disparities while saving public resources required to fund additional surveys for each locality.

Learn more about Ohio’s health care access, utilization, health status and much more at grc.osu.edu/omas. All OMAS data is publically available to download on GRC’s website. Users can also explore interactive data on the OMAS Dashboards.