PDT Staff Writer
A new Medicaid benefit will be introduced to five Ohio counties starting Oct. 1, 2012 — including Scioto. The benefit is expected to enhance care for those with serious and persistent mental illness.
“We are planing to implement a new Medicaid benefit, ‘health homes’ for those with serious and persistent mental illness.” said Angie Bergefurd, Chief of the Office of Health Integration at the Ohio Department of Mental Health. “A health home consists of comprehensive are management, care coordination, health promotion, transitional care, individual and family support and referral to social support services.”
Bergefurd said the goal is to integrate behavioral health care services with primary care and other services both clinical and non-clinical.
“The goal of this is to have better outcomes for the consumer. We hope to reduce the use of hospital emergency rooms, inpatient care, reduce reliance on long term care facilities and improve the quality of life and health outcomes for the consumer,” Bergefurd said.
The new benefit, she said, was the result of federal legislation that authorized states to implement health homes under the Medicaid program.
“When we use the term health home, it’s not a place, it’s not a building, it’s a concept of care,” said Trudy Sharp, Communications Director Ohio Department of Mental Health. “It mean if someone comes to a community behavioral health care center, they would also be able to be connected to services related to physical issues.”
Bergefurd said the state is hoping this will be a good thing for those with serious and persistent mental illness.
“People with serious and persistent mental illness often have other chronic conditions. Some of those conditions are exacerbated by the medication they may take to treat their mental illness,” Sharp said. “Because we are integrating all of this, it enables the person to manage their care better. It enables the providers to communicate with each other, so they can help manage all of the different aspects of wellness.”
The new Medicaid benefit is slated to begin Oct. 1 in Butler, Adams, Scioto, Lawrence and Lucas counties. The remaining counties will be phased in, with all 88 counties providing the service by next July. It is estimated about 177,000 state residents could be eligible for this new benefit, but not all are expected to need or choose to get the benefit.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.