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Medicaid's interest in health homes remains high
Health homes are a model of care that many states are very interested in moving toward, according to Julia Paradise, associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation's Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU). Ms. Paradise is author of the January 2011 brief, Medicaid's New "Health Home" Option.
"States are moving in the direction of enhanced coordination of care, and linkages between both clinical and nonclinical services and medical and long-term services," she says. "This holds the potential to improve care, as well as produce savings over the longer term, for people with some of the greatest needs."
The enhanced federal match for health homes gives states a big financial incentive to improve care, says Ms. Paradise. "So there is a constructive convergence of financing and care goals," she explains.
Many states already have medical homes of some scale in place, notes Ms. Paradise. She adds that a recent guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services indicates they would welcome initiatives that build on those existing programs.
"Some states are well along the way to providing for the kinds of models that the health home envisions," says Ms. Paradise.
States can use planning grants to develop the necessary infrastructure, such as Health Information Technology, she adds, and conduct other activities necessary to implement health homes.
Ms. Paradise notes that in the most recent 50-state budget survey done by KCMU, released in September 2010, 33 states said they were likely to establish health homes.
"It's certainly true that these are challenging times for states," says Ms. Paradise. "The resource issues are tough, but the interest level is high."
Contact Ms. Paradise at (202) 347-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.