Medicaid update – HUSKY parents’ time running out, home health and dental get different cuts, autism services moving

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Friday’s Medicaid Council touched on several critical issues. We got an update, of sorts, on the fate of HUSKY parents facing the loss of coverage in three weeks. 20% of the 13,811 at-risk parents have either re-qualified for Medicaid (the large majority) or signed up for an AccessHealthCT plan. 3,877 parents from the original number are already off the program – examples given include no longer having a qualifying child in the household or moving out of state. No detail on any of these numbers was given. However AccessHealthCT is making significant efforts to inform at-risk parents including a link to Statewide Legal Services of CT’s fact sheets in English and Spanish that include full information about options and how to prepare for those who will likely become uninsured.
We also heard about very different decisions on provider rate cuts. Planned 5% dental rate cuts have been reduced to 3% or 2% and will, in part, drive quality by reversing payment for sealants and fillings that failed before they should have. However the proposed rate cut to home health agencies for medication administration will go forward unchanged despite a proposal by the home health providers’ organization that would have filled $13 million of the $14.8 million budget hole. There is an honest disagreement about appropriate levels of care. Concerns were raised that this cut will reduce access to critical services, especially for behavioral health care, and could interfere with progress keeping people in community settings.
We also heard about the promising shift of autism service delivery to DSS and Beacon Health, the behavioral health ASO. Services include behavioral treatment as well as access to peer specialists and care coordinators. DSS and Beacon are working to improve initial assessments and recruit new providers. It is hoped that the shift will expand access to high quality care for people with autism spectrum disorder.