Missouri Is First in Line for New Medicaid Money

Oct 21, 2011

For people with chronic conditions, getting Medicaid services can be a confusing, disjointed experience, shuffling from provider to provider. Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, states can apply for federal money to help coordinate that care. Missouri did just that, and the news came today that the state will be the first to get this kind of funding under the ACA. Missouri’s application was aimed at helping people with chronic mental health issues. 

In a press call announcing the decision, Cindy Mann, deputy director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters the new money will help streamline care for those patients in Missouri. “We think that the evidence is pretty clear that this kind of care coordination really does deliver better care, more timely care, more robust care, and in doing so will lower costs.”

This coordinated approach is called a “health home” -- a somewhat confusing name because there is no real estate involved here. But the idea is that community mental health centers will serve as “home” for all of a patient’s health needs, coordinating care among primary care doctors, specialists, and others. 

These “health homes” will go into effect in Missouri in January. Under the health care reform law, the federal government will pay for 90 percent of these new services, and the state will pick up the rest.