On Wednesday, Gov. Matt Bevin and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky announced a partnership to help Kentuckians covered under the state’s Medicaid waiver continue to get health coverage and have access to substance use treatment.
The partnership comes after the Bevin administration announced in January the federal government had approved the state’s 1115 Medicaid waiver and stated the goal of the Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) program will improve the health of its participants, strengthen Medicaid’s long-term fiscal sustainability, and promote personal responsibility for health and well-being.
As Kentucky continues to struggle with the scourge of substance abuse, ensuring individuals with substance use disorders can obtain treatment and work toward long-term recovery and employment will be an initial, primary focus of the initiative according to a press release. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky cited in the release about one-third of Kentucky’s Medicaid population suffers with drug and other substance use disorders and added under the waiver program, Medicaid covers the cost of treatment for those diagnosed with such a disorder.
“Our singular goal in this project is to help ensure that as many Kentuckians as possible who are currently eligible for Medicaid are able to retain their health coverage for necessary health care,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “If they need substance use treatment, we want to help them get it. If they need support getting and keeping a job or paying premiums, we want to help make that happen. Health coverage leads to better preventive care and better health. Neither the people nor the budget of Kentucky can afford the health costs of lapses in coverage.”
The role of the Foundation in the new partnership will also be to work with employers, providers, payers, assisters, advocates, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and help support Medicaid beneficiaries with meeting the waiver requirements as well as create an advisory council to gather and share input among all stakeholders and resolve issues as the waiver is implemented.
Veronica Cecil, who served as Deputy Commissioner in the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services under both Governors Matt Bevin and Steve Beshear, has been hired by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to head up the partnership, Kentucky Health Engagement Foundation (KHEF), and also serve as Vice President for Policy at the Foundation. Her position is effective June 1.