concordnhThree items of immediate interest to individuals and families served by MDS and the DHHS Disabilities Services system include Governor Hassan's proposed budget for FY 2016-17, further delays in Step 2 Medicaid Managed Care rollout, and a call to action from ABLE NH to provide details of any issues or problems with the Medicaid Managed Care transition.

Governor Unveils Proposed Budget

On February 12, Governor Hassan introduced her proposed budget for FY 2016/2017. Following are the Governor's comments relative to funding for those with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders. Of note in paragraph 3 is the renaming of "waitlist" budget line to "transitional services."

"In order to continue strengthening our health care system and to maximize our health care dollars, this budget also moves forward with implementing the 'so-called' Step 2 of Medicaid managed care.

For me, and for families we serve, the most important thing is doing Step 2 right. Our driving force should be better services. That is why this budget includes stable rates and stable funding for both years of the biennium, ensuring that implementation is based only on a timeline and principles that work for recipients, providers and all other stakeholders.

And to further ensure that our most vulnerable have the services they need, our budget proposal maintains funding for services for people who experience developmental disability, people with acquired brain disorder, those needing long-term care, and other 'waiver' services. It also funds what has been historically been called the waitlist. But that term suggests that we do not have a moral and legal obligation to provide these services. We do -- which is why we have re-named that budget line, now calling it transitional services, which will fund care for the estimated 600 people who will become eligible over the next two years."

Stay tuned as the budget process moves forward in the NH Legislature in coming months for more information about how you can make your voice heard.

Timeline Pushed Out for Step 2 Managed Care

At the February 12th meeting of the Governor's Medicaid Managed Care Commission, DHHS representatives noted that the Step 2 schedule will be pushed out per below. The Department has not targeted a date for long term services and supports provided through the area agency system.

7/1/2015 - Health plan selection begins for those not yet enrolled in medical services with either NH Healthy Families or WellSense.

9/1/2015 - Medical coverage begins for the newly enrolled.

1/1/2016 - CFI Waiver Services rolled into managed care.

7/1/2016 - Nursing home and DCYF services rolled into managed care.

A Call to Action from ABLE NH Managed Care Task Force

Since January 2014, the ABLE NH Task Force on Medicaid Managed Care has been working with Managed Care Organizations and the Managed Care Commission. Members of the Task Force have actively engaged in monthly Medicaid Managed Care Commission meetings to bring forward difficulties some Medicaid recipients have been experiencing with Step 1. Largely because of the work of ABLE members, last year WellSense changed its policy and removed prior authorization requirements on over 500 outpatient service codes.

ABLE continues its important work on Medicaid Managed Care and needs your help. The task force's three short-term objectives are:

   1. Advocating to resolve Step 1 issues.

   2. Creating a media initiative to bring attention to these issues.

   3. Ensure that appropriate data is being recorded.

The Task Force needs more people impacted by Medicaid Managed Care to join in this effort. Even if you don't have a lot of time to spare, you can make a difference.

Please contact ABLE Task Force Chair This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (dsc4eva@ aol.com) for information on how you can become more involved. Your participation is important to all of us affected by Step 2 of Medicaid Managed Care. Click here for more information on ABLE NH.