Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Foster Care Medical Homes

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) is creating a foster care Medical Home program to be located in the southeastern region of the state slated to begin this fall. The program is a joint initiative of the DHS and the Department of Children and Families DCF).

The general provisions to be implemented in the Foster Care Medical Home program include:

  • Integrated health service delivery services
  • Access to a full range of developmentally appropriate services
  • Continuity and coordination of care
  • Transitional planning and follow-up services
  • Providing for the foster children’s well-being outcomes
Wisconsin’s program will create a virtual “Medical Home” for children in foster care and out-of-home care enabling the children to receive individualized treatment plans addressing their specific trauma-related needs. As a result, these children are expected to have improved physical and mental health, improved resiliency, shorter stays in out-of-home care, plus the Medical Homes will result in long-term savings in Medicaid costs.

“Many children who enter foster care have experienced traumatic events in their young lives and often have intensive physical, behavioral, and mental health needs,” said Eloise Anderson, Secretary of DCF. By immediately assessing their needs with a trauma-informed approach, we have another tool to help break the cycle of harm caused by these adverse experiences.”

Under the program, some 2,500 children in the six counties will continue to have access to all covered Medicaid services but these services will be coordinated to ensure that the services are appropriate to each child. Each child will have a primary care provider and team that will create a medical care plan focused on the specific needs of the child, including physical, mental health, and dental care. A Care Coordinator will communicate with the person in charge of the child’s protection, the child’s parents or guardian, and other providers to ensure they receive needed services promptly.

DHS will certify one or more integrated health systems to participate in the new program. To be certified, qualified healthcare providers must practice with an integrated health system capable of demonstrating capacity in trauma-informed care and evidence-based treatment. They must also be able to work with qualified physicians, nurse practitioners, other support staff, along with a network of qualified providers for medical, dental, and behavioral health services. In addition, they must also contract with providers outside their network.