Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michigan public forums on "Integrating Care"

The Michigan Department of Community Health is holding public forums on "Integrating Care for Dual Eligibles in Michigan".

Before your eyes glaze over, let me explain.

Dual eligibles are people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. For an adult with developmental disabilities, this usually happens when a parent who has been paying into Social Security dies or retires. The disabled adult-child becomes eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits. The vast majority of adults with developmental disabilities also qualify for Medicaid when they become 18 and the family's income is no longer counted in determining eligibility for Medicaid services. Medicaid pays for medical services as well as an array of mental health services provided through local community mental health agencies.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has contracted with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a plan to integrate care for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The ultimate goal of the project is to serve this population more efficiently by improving the quality of care and reducing costs.

The forums for public input on the project will be held in four different locations in the state. For those living in Southeast Michigan, the closest public forum will be in Southfield:

 1 - 4 pm on Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The Hilton Garden Detroit-Southfield
2600 American Drive
Southfield, MI

In addition to hearing a presentation from Michigan’s Medicaid agency, forum participants will be asked to describe what they like about the current system as well as issues that exist. They will also offer feedback regarding the state’s proposed approach for integrating care.

WHY ARE THESE FORUMS IMPORTANT? They are an opportunity for people with DD and their families to remind the state that there is a small but important minority of people who are included in this population of "dual eligibles" who are often overlooked in discussions about reform of our health care system.

This is from the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards:

"Persons with specialty behavioral health needs [the latest term for mental health services] make up a significant part of the dual eligible population.  They represent more than 25% of the dual eligible population statewide.   They also represent a significant part of the persons served by the public mental health system.  In FY09, 54,396 of the persons served by the community mental health system were persons with dual eligibility, more than 25% of the total persons served.   There were 35,339 adults with SMI, 22 children with SED, 18,093 people with DD (6,010 of which were on the Habilitation Supports Waiver).   As a group, these individuals have the most complex care needs of persons served by our system.   As a result, the Medicaid expenditures for the specialty services for these persons was $1.1M, almost 50 % of the total Medicaid expenditures for specialty mental health and developmental disabilities services statewide."

Even if your family member is only eligible for Medicaid, changes in care for "dual eligibles" could significantly affect the delivery of all mental health services. We need to be part of the reform effort rather than victims of it.

More Information:

Agenda for the forums including discussion questions

Stakeholders may submit comments on integrated care eat any time to:

For questions about the forums, contact Dawn Wade at at Public Sector Consultants, at or  (517) 484-4954.

No comments: