Health Homes / Health Teams Update
State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) has filed a companion “Health Homes / Health Teams” rider as an amendment to the House version of Senate Bill 1 (the state budget). As with the Senate rider (Article II rider 68) Turner’s amendment permits the use of Medicaid funds in for providing “patient-centered care” to homeless persons with chronic medical and mental health conditions.
The rider authorizes the State Medicaid Director (under the Texas Health and Human Services Commission) to seek an amendment to the state Medicaid plan from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). If approved, the amendment will allow providers of patient-centered care (“Health Teams”) to deliver integrated health services (medical, behavioral and supportive) as a part of the Texas Medicaid program. The Health Homes option is a special provision (Section §1945 of the Social Security Act) which allows states to develop customized programs of integrated health service to deal with needs of targeted populations. This option does not require the state to expand Medicaid.
This approach to care is an evidenced-based, best practice which is rapidly being adopted throughout the country. Since the “Health Homes Option” first became available on January 1, 2011, eleven other states have requested approval of similar plan amendments. Under this Medicaid strategy, patient-centered health care for the homeless:
Reduces the burden of uncompensated care on hospitals and local hospital districts. . .
Improves the performance of permanent supportive housing in stabilizing residents with serious and persistent mental illness, especially those diverted from incarceration. . .
Restores capacity to emergency medical and psychiatric health systems. . .
Improves the coordination of health services to extremely vulnerable populations. . .
Provides efficiencies in care delivery and data production. . .
Is the best known means of providing consistent, whole-person care, and
Reduces the cost to the State for these services.
The Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for this optional program is only 10 cents on the dollar. For every dollar billed to Medicaid for these services, the state will save three dollars against services now provided under the standard state FMAP.