Sunday, March 21, 2010

Minnesota Updating Services

Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota and legislative leaders have agreed to provide continued healthcare for the state’s low income population by creating a new Coordinating Care Organization to replace the General Assistance Medical Care program.

Effective on June 1, 2010, the new hospital-based coordinated care delivery system in partnership with county agencies will be put into place. Coordinating Care Organizations (CCO) will manage healthcare and provide medically necessary services for eligible Minnesota residents.

Capped block grants for CCOs will be funded with $71 million from the state’s General fund in FY 2010-11 and $131 million in FY 2012-13. The Governor and legislators also agreed to establish a method to reimburse CCOs for drug costs associated with medical care. Drug reimbursements would be capped at $45 million with funding from the General fund in FY 2010-11 and $83 million in FY 2012-13.

The agreement also includes a six month uncompensated care pool for Minnesota hospitals that are not designated as CCOs. The temporary UCP will be paid for with $20 million from the healthcare access fund in fiscal year 2010-11.

To address the needs of the mentally ill, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has plans to redesign services so that they will have access to more equitable psychiatric care across the state. The plan has been included in a report resulting from a series of stakeholder meetings held to discuss how to redesign adult mental health services provided by DHS State Operated Services. The report that resulted titled “Chemical and Mental Health Services Transformation” was submitted to the Minnesota Legislature this month with changes to be implemented in phases.

The plan suggests that integrated level 1 psychiatric centers need to be available in each region of the state. These centers need to provide 24/7 psychiatric coverage. At the same time, inpatient psychiatric care centers to that provide a lower level of care along with Psychiatric Extensive Recovery Treatment Services (PERTS) will be developed.

The plan also would provide for a new 24 hour psychiatric access service to provide consultation to emergency departments, primary care clinics, mobile crisis teams, jails, and other mental health providers. Comprehensive assessments, triage services, and referrals to appropriate levels of care will also be provided. The access service will include a new psychiatric emergency transportation system to be developed in consultation with consumers, family, advocates, law enforcement, providers, and other stakeholders.

A partnership process to involve service providers would enable hospitals, mental health centers, primary care centers, and state-operated facilities in regions of Minnesota to collaborate to respond to state requests for proposals for Level 1 and 2 psychiatric care services and PERTS appropriate to the needs of their areas.