California has begun early implementation of Medicaid expansion, allowing millions of Californians to transition into systems of care. CSH has been working to ensure people experiencing the greatest challenges to accessing care receive the services and connection to housing needed to make their health care meaningful. The Legislature’s Select Committee on Homelessness, concerned with these issues, held a hearing on May 10 to consider homelessness in the context of health reform. The Committee invited CSH’s Peggy Bailey to testify. She spoke of other state examples of addressing the high costs and health challenges of people experiencing homelessness, urging the state to pass and implement Assembly Bill 2266.
AB 2266 (Mitchell) would require California to take advantage of an Affordable Care Act option for “health home services”—comprehensive case management, discharge planning and assessment, and other services supportive housing has been providing for decades—for frequent hospital users, many of whom are homeless. The bill would offer a sustainable funding stream for services in housing as part of a Medicaid benefit for any beneficiary meeting the eligibility criteria in participating counties. The option provides states 90% federal funding for two years.
The bill passed the California Assembly in early June, and is pending before the Senate. It passed the Senate Health Committee on June 20, and now faces its biggest hurdles: passing California’s Senate Appropriations Committee, which tends to reject any bill costing the state, and getting the Governor’s signature. CSH has lined up support for the bill from organizations as diverse as supportive housing developers to counties to the California Primary Care Association, but we need to shore up support to get the bill over these hurdles.
Contact Sharon Rapport for more information, or show your support for this critical bill by sending a letter to the bill’s author, Assembly Member Holly Mitchell, using the CSH sample letter of support.