Medicaid to Improve Continuity of Care for Foster Children, Other Vulnerable Youth
ATLANTA -- In a move designed to improve continuity of health care and better health outcomes, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has transitioned more than 27,000 children in foster care and adoption assistance, as well as select youth in the juvenile justice system into a single Care Management Organization (CMO).
The program, called Georgia Families 360°sm, is the result of collaboration between DCH, a number of child-serving state agencies, and the Children and Families Task Force that includes stakeholders and advocates.
“The focus of Georgia Families 360°sm is on the well-being and betterment of the youth our agencies serve in Georgia,” said DCH Commissioner Clyde L. Reese III, Esq. “We are very pleased with all the cross-agency work and planning that has gone into this new program and are certain that the health of these members will be improved.”
The transition of members began on Monday, March 3, 2014, after months of study, preparation, planning and agency training. It is the outgrowth of DCH’s ongoing Medicaid Redesign Program that was launched in 2011. Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia, one of the state’s CMOs, will provide health care coverage for these populations.
Program goals are to:
- Improve access to health care services, particularly for physical and behavioral health services covered by the Medicaid program
- Increase continuity of care, including when members transition in and out of foster care
- Enhance health outcomes, providing additional care coordination and improved physical and behavioral health oversight
Each member will have an assigned care coordination team to work closely with Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) personnel and affiliated providers across the state. The collaboration of the care coordination teams and agency staff will involve the development of health care plans and the monitoring and measurement of each member’s health outcomes.
Members will also have a medical and dental home to promote consistency and continuity of care. Providers, foster parents, adoptive parents and other caregivers will be involved in the ongoing health care plans to ensure that the physical and behavioral health needs of these populations are met.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are being used to enhance effective delivery of care. The EHRs can be accessed by Amerigroup, physicians in the Amerigroup provider network, and DCH sister agencies, including the DFCS, regardless of where the child lives, even if the child experiences multiple placements.
Ombudsman and advocacy staff are in place at both DCH and Amerigroup to support caregivers and members, assisting them in navigating the health care system. Additionally, medication management will focus on appropriate monitoring of the use of psychotropic medications, to include ADD/ADHD medications.
Background about Georgia Families 360°
In an exceptional collaboration, seven state child-serving agencies have come together for this transition – the Department of Community Health, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, and the Department of Early Care and Learning. These state agencies bring a focused commitment to the transition and added emphasis on outreach, education and communication with key stakeholders, members, caregivers, foster parents, adoptive parents and providers.
As part of the Medicaid Redesign, DCH formed a Children and Families Task Force to study ways to improve care. The work done during the redesign, plus input received from members of the task force, assisted DCH in identifying opportunities for improvement in the delivery of care for these populations.
Georgia Families 360° is the result of this collaboration.
About the Georgia Department of Community Health
Through effective planning, purchasing and oversight, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) provides access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Georgians, including some of the state’s uninsured and most vulnerable populations.
DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids,® the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.
Clyde L. Reese III, Esq., serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health.
To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.