State Strategies for Coordinating Medicaid and Housing Services

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Objective: This article reports findings from case studies of 4 states (Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Tennessee) that used different approaches to coordinate Medicaid services with temporary or permanent housing supports for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Method: Data were collected through document review, telephone interviews with state officials and managed care organizations, and site visits to behavioral health and housing providers, and consumer organizations. Qualitative analyses focused on identifying key features of each state’s approach, including the strengths and limitations from multiple perspectives. Results: All 4 states facilitated partnerships between behavioral health and housing providers. Each state used managed care strategies to some degree and identified opportunities to use Medicaid to finance the coordination of services with housing providers. These financing strategies included using flexible case rates to fund community support workers; using a 1915(i) state plan amendment to fund intensive Medicaid behavioral health services for those in permanent supportive housing; funding new local entities to support local partnerships between health and housing organizations; and creating a Medicaid supportive housing benefit. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: These 4 states took advantage of the flexibility that Medicaid offers to implement different service models in an effort to improve the coordination of behavioral health services and housing. The strategies used in these states may be useful to other states and communities seeking to strengthen coordination of care for individuals who require housing support.

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