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Ga. Medicaid Redesigns Healthcare for Foster Children

By Nia Testamark

July 25, 2013ATLANTA - State officials hope changes they're initiating will bring wellness and health for 27,000 children in foster care, adoption assistance and select youth in the juvenile justice system in the upcoming New Year. 
The Department of Community Health has chosen a single, care-management organization for the children's health care coverage. 
The organization that the department is using is Amerigroup. This organization is experienced with providing care for foster children in multiple states, and will work with other child-serving agencies in meeting the needs of Georgia's children and youth. 
A care-management organization for health care follows the person's health status and recommends what services are needed and when follow-up visits are required. 
The transition will be effective Jan. 1. 
The department's board members felt like the children in foster care are vulnerable when they are constantly moving from home to home and often have more complex health issues than others. 
They want to provide more consistent health care coverage. 
"This is an exciting time for all our child-serving agencies in Georgia and for the care of these young people who are often in these situations," said new Community Health Commissioner Clyde L. Reese III. 
The department has been working with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine the appropriate federal authority to achieve the transition. 
Six other agencies will be participating in this transition as well. 
"Children would benefit from a managed-care approach, rather than their current fee-for-service health care arrangement, improving access to and coordination of their health care and resulting in better health outcomes," said Pamela Keene, media and public relations manager for the department. 
Fee-for-service health care is a health insurance plan that allows the patient to make almost all health care decisions independently while the care-management approach includes guidance and advice from the insurance company. 
The department received public feedback from a survey and input from stakeholders earlier in July, which will be used to provide additional information and guidance as the program is developing and being implemented.


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