Friday, December 15, 2017

Home and Community-Based Services: What Is It?

By Ted Walner
Hello my fellow peers. Get ready. A new state-of-the art program is coming to the mental health community. It is called HCBS (Home and Community- Based Services) and it has been created to actually minimize costs and improve care. This plan has been developed to lessen Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations. It also restores dignity and respect to the consumers. So, fasten your seatbelts, as you learn about a great opportunity in mental health services.

To begin, one must understand what HARP (Health and Recovery Plans) means. It is a plan that integrates physical, mental health, and substance use needs. Individuals over 21 that are receiving Medicaid Managed Care (aka: the HMOs) will be notified that they are HARP eligible and can join a Health Home. You do not qualify if you have both Medicare and Medicaid, if you have Medicare only, live in a nursing home, or are in a Managed Long-Term Care Plan. These qualifications might change over time.

At the level of the Health Home, the client and the care manager will select the appropriate Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). Examples of HCBS include psychosocial rehabilitation, educational support, vocational assistance, respite help, habilitation (dressing appropriately), and psychiatric support. A referral packet will be created including a psychosocial, an assessment, and an initial plan of care. The case manager and the client will choose a provider to help receive these goals. 

Baltic Street AEH, Inc. as well as other agencies, are providers in New York City. The client will meet with a representative from their provider organization to create a plan for services authorized by the Health Home. This will be done in three meetings. These discussions usually last an hour and are once per week where assessments and authorizations will be written and a service plan will be drawn up. All of this work is billable to Medicaid.
Together, the consumer and the peer specialist will work on these goals. For example, if the plan is psychosocial rehabilitation, the client will apply to a clubhouse. If transportation is an issue, the half-fare card will be obtained. If vocational rehabilitation is needed, the consumer will be placed in a job agency.

Once the service is rendered, the work has been completed. The client will get the service asked for and be in better condition as a result. This approach will improve lifestyles and keep peers well, which is a goal of HCBS. This plan has many good qualities and I hope it works for you.

Note: If you are receiving HCBS, we want to hear from you about your experience even if it is not a positive one. Please write us at with “HCBS” in the subject. Thanks!

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