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Education    |   Health Care    |   Essential Human Services

Well-being is more than an apple a day

People living with a mental illness are dying 25 years sooner than those without due to reduced access to health care for preventable medical conditions (National Association of Mental Health Program Directors, 2006). 

Medicaid is the largest insurance source for individuals to cover the cost of their treatment but 40% of Ohioans in need of mental health services are not Medicaid eligible – that’s more than 27,000 Cuyahoga County residents (Ohio Association of Behavioral Health Authorities).

The severely mentally ill represent 10% of Ohio’s Medicaid enrollees but account for 26% of the cost, largely for physical health care issues (Ohio Office of Health Transformation, 2012).

There are a number of barriers to the reimbursement of mental health services in primary care settings (and vice versa) within the current insurance system that do not allow for true integrated care (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2006).

We need to better coordinate health care services for people living with mental illness

We can achieve impactful care coordination for those living with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions and reduce wasteful health care spending by supporting key initiatives: 

Medicaid Health Homes: an innovative model designed to provide clients with more coordinated physical and behavioral health care. When used in other states, the health home model has demonstrated increased quality of patient care and lower costs to the health delivery system (Agency of Health Care Research and Quality, 2012).

Medicaid Expansion and Health Information Exchanges: these efforts ensure that individuals who are currently uninsured gain access to much needed coverage and organizations are able to maximize their ability to deliver those services at less cost to the health system.

We advocate for:

A reimbursement system for Medicaid that allows for the integration of physical and behavioral health services.

The implementation of Medicaid Health Homes in a way that is responsive to the workforce, demographic, and health system issues in Cuyahoga County.

Full Medicaid expansion and implementation of Health Information Exchanges in Ohio so the greatest number of people receives efficient and effective coverage for their health care needs.