Health Home Program Reduces Medicaid Costs, Better Patient Care

April 15, 2012 Updated Apr 15, 2012 at 10:42 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Credit: NYS Senator Tim Kennedy

NYS Senator Tim Kennedy announces Health Homes Medicaid project at Urban Family Practice in Buffalo, April 14, 2012

April 15, 2012 Updated Apr 15, 2012 at 10:42 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( release) –Senator Tim Kennedy, Urban Family Practice, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network partners and local stakeholders announced Saturday the state has designated the Buffalo-based healthcare provider to participate in the innovative Medicaid Health Homes program. This new state program, which was approved in the state budget through the Medicaid Redesign Team, aims to improve health outcomes and reduce Medicaid costs.

Under the Health Homes program, a specific primary-care provider or care team will coordinate care and integrate services to ensure improved health for underserved communities. A multidisciplinary team of medical, mental health, chemical dependency treatment and other care providers – such as social workers and nurses – will be led by a dedicated care manager who will assure that patients receive needed medical services in accordance with a single plan of care.

By streamlining delivery and expanding access to primary, preventative and specialty services for individuals with chronic conditions, we will be able to reduce visits to emergency rooms and prevent avoidable hospitalizations. This program will control future healthcare costs and help make advancements in public health.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network unites Urban Family Practice with its application partners Kaleida Health, WNY Healthcare Collaborative, Hispanics United of Buffalo, Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County and others.

“We are thrilled to have been designated to participate in the Medicaid Health Homes program,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez, founder and CEO of Urban Family Practice. “This designation is an exciting and unique opportunity for us to improve the health of our neighbors in communities like Buffalo’s West Side and East Side. We’re committed to keeping our community healthy, and we believe this program will help us make our patients healthier while reducing costs for our facilities and the state. I thank the Department of Health for this opportunity to advance patient care, our partners for their collaboration in this effort and Senator Kennedy for his support during this process.”

“This collaborative effort will accomplish the dual goals of reducing Medicaid costs and improving the health and well-being of underserved communities within the city of Buffalo,” said Senator Kennedy. “By coordinating care and efficiently delivering services, this innovative ‘Health Homes’ program will help families and individuals remain healthy while preventing hospitalizations and reducing emergency room visits. The ‘Health Homes’ program will lead to healthier families, a healthier community and lower healthcare costs for the state.”

For more information about the Medicaid Health Homes program, visit: www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/program/medicaid_health_homes/.