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Sunday, February 28, 2016
Feds Expanding Medicaid involvement in Hawaii homeless initiatives
By News Release @ 4:36 PM :: 4738 Views :: Health Care, Homelessness


News Release from Office of the Governor, February 26, 2016

Honolulu – Hawai‘i’s cross-agency approach to addressing homelessness and housing will be getting a boost from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the state has been selected to participate in the collaborative and highly competitive Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) beginning Apr. 2016. As a participant, Hawai‘i will focus on expanding Medicaid involvement in and support for the state’s housing and homelessness initiatives.

“We know we have to break down the work silos if we are to succeed in helping the families and individuals who most need housing, healthcare and other services. I applaud the staff across the various state departments who recognize this and are taking the initiative to make meaningful change,” said Gov. Ige.

In the program operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Human Services (DHS) Med-QUEST Division will participate in the Community Integration – Long-term Services and Supports’ Medicaid-Housing Agency Partnerships track.

Gov. Ige has prioritized a collaborative, comprehensive approach to address the complex issue of homelessness, and Hawai‘i’s participation in this program will be equally cooperative. Representatives from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Governor’s Office on Homelessness will join the Med-QUEST Division as part of the IAP team. Other key partners include individuals from the Hawai‘i Housing and Finance Development Corporation and the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority.

“The Departments of Health and Human Services are working together along with the Governor’s Office and the community to build a healthy Hawai‘i,” said DHS Director Rachael Wong.

“Participation in the Innovation Accelerator Program will give our teams a much-needed boost in support and training to find new ways to address the social determinants that lead to homelessness and affect health here in Hawai‘i,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Hawai‘i’s cross-agency collaboration on the homeless issue is key to sustaining long-term solutions.”

This program will bring technical assistance from national experts to help stakeholders in public housing, Medicaid and behavioral health come together and redesign and implement plans to cover gaps in services. The technical assistance will enable the Hawai‘i team to continue using evidence-based national best practices and improve existing programs like Housing First and the supporting wrap-around services.

The Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program began in 2014 to improve care and health for Medicaid beneficiaries and reduce costs by supporting states in accelerating payment and service delivery reforms. The program aims to jumpstart innovation in key areas while supporting states in their efforts to improve health, improve healthcare and lower costs. In addition to technical assistance, CMS will facilitate collaborative learning and advise Hawai‘i’s team in strategy and implementation.

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SA: Federal aid boosts care for homeless


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