New Medicaid homelessness prevention program shows promise

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Starting August 1st, Medicaid members at risk of homelessness will have access to housing support services and subsidies through the new CHESS program. The program is designed to address upstream problems to prevent future problems and improve overall health. Described at today’s MAPOC meeting, the plan expects to serve about 850 Medicaid members with care plan development, pre-tenancy assistance, support for retaining tenancy, non-medical transportation, and housing subsidies. Eligible members must be homeless or at-risk, have multiple health conditions including a behavioral health diagnosis, and two critical needs such as for housing stability supports or for assistance with taking medication.

The program is a collaboration between DSS, DMHAS, DDS, and the Dept. of Housing. Beacon Health Options will oversee the program’s function and UConn will evaluate the outcomes. (UConn will not participate as a provider in the program.)

The original plan was to target members with high hospital costs, but the plan changed when data pointed to a racial/ethnic bias in that standard. Providers will be paid about $44/hour for the services, but also receive pay-for-performance bonuses for successfully and sustainably housing members and connecting them to ongoing healthcare and SNAP food resources. UConn evaluators will monitor for patient selection by providers to improve performance and bonuses.