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Medicaid report highlights ways to reduce health care costs in Montana for homelessness

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jun 18, 2019

BILLINGS – The results from a Montana Healthcare Foundation report that aimed to reduce health care costs associated with Montana homelessness were shared at the Billings Hotel and Convention center Tuesday.

“We created models of how Medicaid waivers and system designs could be used to re-imagine how Medicaid can support the most vulnerable members of Montana communities,” Ted Madden, the foundation’s COO, said.

The report was conducted by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a New York-based housing advocacy group, (CSH) in partnership with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The report looked at Montana Medicaid policy to find opportunities to give Medicaid services to homeless people.

“What this report does is that we can really highlight that if we can deeply target these individuals who we know need the supportive housing intervention,” said Annie Bacci, CSH program manager. “And take opportunities to align our Medicaid funding source for these critical services that we can have a huge impact on a small number of individuals that will result in major cost avoidance. But more importantly, better health outcomes for these vulnerable individuals in Montana.”

The report identifies Medicaid reimbursements in local communities that aren’t being used by qualifying homeless people.

It also found gaps in local health partners’ knowledge of available Medicaid services.

“The system is really disconnected in certain parts,” Bacci said. “The work that the Montana Healthcare Foundation has funded has really brought the housing providers and the health providers to the same table together. It’s bringing the important partners together to discuss, ‘how do we combine the services that are so critical on the healthcare side and the housing that is so critical to recovery and better health outcomes?'”

Madden emphasized that Montana Healthcare Foundation is working with local leaders to to see how Medicaid can better work for vulnerable Montanans.

“The MHCF is working locally on the community levels with housing providers, healthcare providers, civic and county leaders and mental health providers to really look at what does that local system look like. And then DPHHS’s work can compliment that. They work with each other. It’s all a great partnership both locally and with DPHHS to learn from each other and to move forward in this important area,” Madden said.

If you would like to view the full report, click here.