California – (CISION PR Newswire, 11/23/20) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate effect on people with disabilities, The Arc of California in partnership with Stony Brook University of Social Welfare is launching “Project Connect”, a free twenty-four hour support line for people with disabilities, their family members, caregivers and support teams. The telehealth support line will be staffed by graduate students of Stony Brook who will be supervised by licensed social workers. The services provided will include counseling, wellness checks, depression screening and referrals to community services.
Kansas – (WIBW.com, 11/28/20) The University of Kansas has been awarded $13 million in grant funding over two separate projects aimed to develop and implement community-based support interventions for children with autism. One project is the “Autism Intervention Research Network for Behavioral Health” based at the University of California – Los Angeles, which partners with community groups and key stakeholders to provide access to interventions for underserved families. The other project is between Kansas University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. This project is evaluating the use of an assessment tool to monitor the progress of interventions in young children. These studies “utilize a team-based approach relying on social networks and on partnering with community providers to implement the studies”. Additionally, KU said it will build on its broad research in self-determination to improve outcomes which has been pioneered at the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities.
Medicaid, Medicaid expansion, MLTSS
Georgia – (LA Progressive, Nov. 2020) Georgia remains one of twelve states that have not pursued Medicaid expansion but in October, the Kemp administration sealed an agreement with CMS to offer and alternative pathway to coverage called Georgia Pathways and Access Plan. This plan will provide access to Medicaid or employer sponsored coverage to approximately 50,000 people. This plan comes as Georgia’s uninsured rate of 13.4% puts them at third worst in the country. Under the Pathways to Access plan, Georgians who make up to 100% of the federal poverty level can apply for insurance through Medicaid and pay a “nominal” premium. Additionally the plan will divert approximately 500,000 people off the exchange and direct them to private insurance companies. While Republican lawmakers assert that Medicaid expansion would cost the state $550 million per year, the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts estimate the cost of expansion to be between $188 – $213 million. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute was quoted saying, “It’s not as expensive as the governor has stated… You’re looking at a comparable level there [between Medicaid expansion versus the Pathways to Access plan] as far as cost, but with Kemp’s plan not covering nearly as many people.”
North Carolina – (this story curtesy of ANOCR’s subscription to Open Minds, 11/24/20) As North Carolina moves from a fee-for-service Medicaid program to managed care, the program will include two types of plans. The so-called “Tailored Plans” will serve people with severe behavioral health disorders, I/DD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other conditions requiring specialized supports and services. The other program is referred to as the “Standard Plans” and both will offer a full range of service including long-term care and pharmacy services. As the state gears up for the Tailored Plans expected go-live date of July 1, 2022, they have issued a Request for Applications to only select managed care organizations. The seven current, quasi-public local management entities/managed care organizations (LME/MCOs) are the only providers allowed to submit application and the state anticipates they will contract with five of the seven entities to deliver the “Tailored Plans”. One of several key considerations in the application includes the LME/MCOs’ “Ability to develop a comprehensive quality improvement and value-based purchasing approach, improve population health, and address unmet health related resource needs.”
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