There’s hope on the horizon for the thousands of Ohio parents raising children with complex behavioral health and developmental disorders.
OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems & Excellence), a new specialized managed care program through Ohio Department of Medicaid, will offer care coordination and new services not currently available in Ohio. Another goal of the program is to eliminate the heartbreaking situation of parents having to give up custody in order to get their children the help they need.
Dr. Steven Jewell, the Lois C. Orr Endowed Chair of Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology at Akron Children’s, recently spoke at a virtual press conference during which the creation of the OhioRISE program was announced. The new program is part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s Children’s Initiative.
“This program has long been needed,” said Dr. Jewell. “It’s for the kids who have the greatest needs, and the families who often can’t find the services that they need or have trouble navigating the system.”
Ohio Medicaid will begin seeking applications from insurers and other managed care organizations to create OhioRISE.
An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 Ohio children, teens and young adults up to age 21 could be enrolled. The program, targeted to those currently being underserved through the developmental disability system, those in the foster care system and those who have experienced extensive trauma and disruption in their lives, is expected to roll out by January 2022.
In his many years as a pediatric psychiatrist, Dr. Jewell said one of the most heartbreaking situations he has seen is families who have to relinquish custody of their children so that funding for these services will begin to flow.
The new program will allow for a waiver so families with private insurance could qualify for Medicaid based on need rather than financial circumstances.
Dr. Jewell said the parents who spoke at the press conference were good representatives of all the families having to watch their children fall through the cracks and not get the care and support they need.
“When you have overlapping complexities – for example, physical and behavioral health challenges, substance abuse disorders, the involvement of juvenile justice and child welfare – the harder it is to access the services you need for those kids,” he said.
In addition to the intensive care coordination and 1915(c) waiver to ease enrollment in Medicaid for eligible children, new services available through OhioRISE include:
- Expansion of intensive home-based treatment.
- A psychiatric residential treatment facility, a much needed option between acute inpatient and long term residential.
- A mobile response and stabilization service, where a mental health professional and a parent mentor support a family in crisis.
OhioRISE should help level the playing field for children who now may live miles away from providers and services.
“For a lot of kids, unfortunately, the care they can get really depends on where they live,” said Dr. Jewell. “In some parts of the state, resources are poor.”
Jewell praised not only Gov. DeWine but Maureen Corcoran, the Ohio Medicaid director, and Leeanne Cornyn, director of the Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives, for their commitment to improving pediatric health care in Ohio.
“OhioRISE is expected to save Ohio money as it should reduce emergency and inpatient care,” said Dr. Jewell. “But, more importantly, it’s going to save kids.”