May 16, 2018. Last week, Governor Rauner announced the approval of the Illinois Behavioral Health Transformation Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver. This is significant, because it provides $2 billion dollars of new resources over the next five years to improve the care for those who struggle with mental health and/or substance use disorders. Heartland Alliance has been a key advocate of this initiative over the past two years, and we are thrilled to be able to drive change on behalf of those who we serve. The waiver creates 10 new programs to treat these participants one of which includes a new model of care – the Integrated Health Home. This model is a collection of programs that helps participants find housing, employment, cope with a mental health event without a visit to the emergency room, access substance use disorder treatments and more.
The Integrated Health Home initiative is particularly exciting, as Heartland Alliance Health leads its Health Neighborhood project to support care coordination to bridge housing providers and medical staff together to provide a wider range of services for participants. Integrated Health Homes has the potential to strengthen the impact of Health Neighborhoods, using Medicaid funds. We can continue to expand and build deep partnerships with social service providers across sectors.
Another promising program is the Community Integration pilot that provides services to help vulnerably housed individuals, and those at risk of institutionalization, find housing in the community. This will give Heartland Alliance’s supportive housing programs the opportunity to expand, so that we can help more of our participants find safe and stable housing.
Heartland Alliance is a long-time champion of programs aimed to help those most marginalized. We have been a leader in integrating physical health and behavioral health services, and we have lifted up the importance of housing as healthcare. We have been at the forefront of evidence-based substance use treatment and have long-valued the input of those with lived experience when it comes to supporting recovery. And now that the state seeks to realize these concepts of care, we are well-positioned to shape and participate the delivery.
There are many other programs relevant to Heartland Alliance participants, and we look forward to sharing more as the state rolls this out. There is still a lot work to do to implement this proposal, but we are glad to be near the center of it. We look forward to continuing to work with state leaders, community partners, and our participants to make sure these services can truly make an impact and advance equity and opportunity for all.
Daniel Rabbitt – Project Manager | Health Policy