281: Medicaid Approves Housing Waiver

Caroline Brazeel, ASTHO’s Senior Director for Population Health and Innovation, discusses two demonstration waivers, one which allows Oregon to provide housing assistance to some people enrolled in Medicaid, that were approved by the Centers for...


Caroline Brazeel, ASTHO’s Senior Director for Population Health and Innovation, discusses two demonstration waivers, one which allows Oregon to provide housing assistance to some people enrolled in Medicaid, that were approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Scott Shone, ASTHO’s new representative to the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, says he’s ready to keep ASTHO members informed about the panel’s work; ASTHO has three employment opportunities you might consider; and ASTHO has booked a Simon Sinek master trainer for a new Insight and Inspiration event scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th.

ASTHO Webpage: Careers at ASTHO

ASTHO Webinar: Insight and Inspiration: Conversations for Public Health Leaders

ASTHO Webpage: Be in the Know

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, October 12th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

 

CAROLINE BRAZEEL:

It's potentially going to create a fantastic model for the rest of the country to replicate over the course of the coming years.

JOHNSON:

ASTHO's Caroline Brazeel, talking about two demonstration waivers approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

One of them allows Oregon to provide housing assistance to some people enrolled in Medicaid.

BRAZEEL:

The Medicaid program is extremely complex and is governed by a series of fairly strict regulatory requirements. And that's why the Oregon waiver in particular is so critical because it's the first time that Medicaid has authorized direct reimbursement for rent.

JOHNSON:

Brazeel says the waiver indicates who's eligible and the type of housing cost that can be covered.

BRAZEEL:

So, from the housing perspective, for example, rent can be covered and a rent subsidy can be authorized for up to six months for people who are experiencing a life transition.

And that extreme weather example, people can receive air conditioners, air filters, generators, those types of things, which we don't traditionally think of as things that Medicaid would reimburse or cover for its members.

JOHNSON:

With the Oregon approval, Brazeel predicts other ASTHO members will pursue similar waivers.

BRAZEEL:

There are a lot of states that recognize that the health of an individual and the health of a population is determined by more than what happens in a clinical delivery setting. It's just that the financing mechanism has not really existed until now in Medicaid to be able to support that type of work.

So, I think a lot of states are going to be looking at how both Oregon and Massachusetts implement these initiatives and trying to learn from that and model it in their own systems.

JOHNSON:

The Massachusetts waiver, according to Brazeel, authorizes a value-based care approach that works to address equity through the state's hospital systems.

 

Our youngest people have a new advocate on a federal panel that considers heritable disorders in kids.

Scott Shone is ASTHO's new representative to the HHS secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.

SCOTT SHONE:

Well, I hope to continue to bring the voice of the broader public health system and how health officials can help support as well as provide perspective for issues impacting heritable disorders in newborns and children, particularly right now with a major focus on newborn screening and the issues that are impacting newborn screening system

JOHNSON:

Shone is director of North Carolina's public health lab. He also just wrapped up a five-year term as a voting member on the committee. He says the panel's work provides a valuable forum to discuss issues that aren't always front and center.

SHONE:

So, I think it's important to understand what are the opportunities where the health officials can weigh in and participate actively on bringing progress, but also where there's some challenges; where the importance of the health officials role can help bring some insights as well as opportunities. And turning challenges into opportunities is really, I think, a critical piece where health officials should know.

JOHNSON:

Shone says he's ready to keep ASTHO members informed about the panel's work and to make their positions known to others on the committee.

SHONE:

That's my job, as an organizational rep, is to bring back to ASTHO, to share those messages of where are the hot topics and are the items that are of most importance in this field right now. Obviously, there are so many priorities in the public health system and its overlap with the medical system.

 

JOHNSON:

Thinking about jobs: if you are looking for a new opportunity, ASTHO has three positions you might consider. The organization is hiring a director of workforce development, and a director of contracts, and a specialist in staff development and staff engagement. There's a link to the ASTHO Careers page in the show notes.

 

Also, you can find inspiration for your work in a new Insight and Inspiration event, scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th. ASTHO has booked a Simon Sinek master trainer to help you decode the "why" to your workday. Sign up using the link in the show notes.

 

Finally, don't miss another ASTHO Public Health Weekly email newsletter. Just like this newscast, it's loaded with the latest public health news—but you have to subscribe to get it. As always, the link is in the show notes.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

Caroline Brazeel MPH

Senior Director, Population Health and Innovation, ASTHO

Scott Shone PhD

Director, North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health