East Stroudsburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) started the third week of a series of information sessions for health care and service providers in preparation for the third phase of implementing the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program. CHC will coordinate health care coverage to improve quality for older Pennsylvanians and those with physical disabilities, serving more people in communities rather than in facilities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life.
The third phase is scheduled for January 1, 2020, and will cover counties in central, northeast, and northwest Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
“The Department of Human Services has seen great success with the CHC rollout in the Southwest and Southeast,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “The phased rollout of CHC has given us time to listen to participants, providers, and stakeholders and hear their experience with the program so that by 2020, we will be delivering the best care possible to more than 400,000 seniors and adults with physical disabilities across the commonwealth. We look forward to expanding the service offerings to the final regions in January 2020 and are preparing providers and eligible participants for this transition.”
Ahead of the final implementation, DHS has coordinated efforts with the managed care organizations to host provider information sessions as well as participant information sessions. Throughout May and June, provider sessions are being held in various locations around the Phase Three zone. In the fall, participant information sessions will be held offering eligible community members the opportunity to learn more about this program and to gather resources and ask questions to choose a plan that will meet their needs. Information about which counties are included in the final phase of implementation is available here.
“CHC is providing options for so many Pennsylvanians in their communities,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “This is especially noteworthy because we know that the majority of older adults want to age in place. CHC is serving seniors so that they can have the opportunity to work and spend time with their families, all while having access to long-term services they need.”
CHC was established to enhance care and service coordination, improve health outcomes, and increase availability of community living options for individuals requiring long-term services and supports. By offering these services and supports in a managed care delivery system, DHS is working towards better quality of services for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities as well as budget predictability. Preliminary data from the Southwest shows that in CHC’s first year, the rate of individuals served in the community increased from 49.7 percent to 52.2 percent.
“One of our top priorities is to continue to enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the supports and services available to serve more people in communities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life,” said Secretary Miller. “This continued investment demonstrates a commitment to supporting elderly Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities.”
CHC was first launched in southwest Pennsylvania in January 2018 and southeast Pennsylvania in January 2019. Currently, more than 210,000 older Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities have an active voice when choosing how and where they receive their services and supports through CHC. The rollout in the remainder of the state will include approximately 143,000 individuals. When fully implemented across the state, CHC will impact more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
For more information on the CHC program, visit www.healthchoices.pa.gov/info/about/community/