Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky partners with Kentucky HEALTH

05/30/2018 12:32 PM

LOUISVILLE- In an effort to help Kentuckians maintain health coverage, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will be partnering with Kentucky HEALTH.

The Foundation says its sole mission in the partnership with the Bevin Administration is to keep coverage for those currently receiving Medicaid as the switch to the new waiver is made. The Foundation will focus on the community engagement component, referred to as PATH (Partnering to Advance Training and Health). They will do so by supporting Medicaid beneficiaries with meeting the waiver requirements and working with employers, providers, payers, advocates and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. They will also create an advisory council to gather and share input among stakeholders to resolve issues as the waiver is implemented.

“This is a major undertaking for the Foundation, it’s a major undertaking for everyone involved,” said Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation. “We don’t enter into such a partnership lightly. We understand that many stakeholders have deep concerns about Medicaid eligible beneficiaries losing their coverage, as do we. We are committed to keeping as many people covered as possible.”

According to the Foundation, about one third of Kentucky’s Medicaid population suffers from substance abuse. A key focus of the initiative will be to help those with substance abuse problems find treatment and work toward recovery. Under the waiver, Medicaid will cover drug treatment for those addicted, classifying it as a disorder.

“It’s a heartbreaking, heart rendering thing for people in Kentucky. And we want to be about the business of identifying the people who need help, and helping them get that help. I guess that’s really our major approach.” said Chandler.

While many have speculated the goal of the switch to the Medicaid 1115 waiver was to limit the number of Kentuckians who are covered by Medicaid, Gov. Bevin, R-Kentucky, says that has never been the idea behind Kentucky HEALTH.

“The goal is to get a healthier outcome for the people of Kentucky. I’ve never made any mention with respect to the size and scope of Medicaid,” said Bevin. “What I do believe is if you have a healthier population you won’t need as many people.”

Chandler, says his organization has never been under the assumption the administration is trying to lower the number of Kentuckians on Medicaid.

“The administration has been consistent with us on this subject,” said Chandler. “I don’t think anybody wants people to lose their health coverage, I just don’t think that anybodies got that goal. I hope not. I can assure you that we at the Foundation don’t.”

The partnership is also meant to help bridge gaps between organizations in the community.

“What we anticipate what we have with the great partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is we have a statewide convener,” said Kristi Putnam, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet of Health and Family Services. “We have someone who can go out to the communities, we try to be everywhere but we can’t, so we need people who can out and help us convene groups in local communities.”

The Foundation is creating the Kentucky Health Engagement Foundation (KHEF) to carry out the work. Veronica Cecil will serve as the Executive Director of KHEF as well as Vice President for Policy at the Foundation.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

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