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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Entries in Medicaid expansion (14)

Tuesday
Oct132015

Medicaid Discussion Locally

We are so thankful that we live in one of the 30 states that has expanded Medicaid, and we want to do more!  The uninsured homeless population moved from 80% to under 50% in 2014.  It has been so helpful and we see now the close relationship between housing and healthcare.  There is a meeting next week in this building to talk about the specifics of the Medicaid program, which everyone is welcome to attend.

Brian Davis (Thanks NOBLE for letting us know about this meeting)

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Sunday
Apr122015

Medicaid and Voter Suppression in State House

The State House of Representatives is releasing their budget this week. There is good news in the budget released by the Governor in February and then his transportation budget veto in March.  The Governor is supporting an expansion of Medicaid in the budget for 2015 to 2016.  This has not received much criticism despite the tricky way that it was passed into law in 2013.  If you remember the Medicaid expansion was bypassed by the legislature and the Governor slipped it into the Controlling Board budget.  There was so much rhetoric about overturning "Obamacare" and not expanding Medicaid. So far in the first two months that this budget has been out we have heard very little about Medicaid expansion.  There is no controversy it seems even though the State will have to pick up 10% of the cost in 2016. 

Why is there no there controversy?  The cost of dismantling Medicaid expansion would be enormous for the State.  All of these 200,000 people who now are getting prescription drugs would need to be provided some alternative.  All the hospitals in rural communities that are benefiting from the federal government reimbursing them for care would have to find alternatives.  In the South, those hospitals are struggling to stay alive or closing because there was no way to pay for cost of care to the poor.  The expansion of clinics and new health care facilities in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati would close down and the communities would have to deal with the loss of health care jobs.  The Health Corridor in Cleveland would shrink to a couple of facilities.  The emergency rooms would again be packed with many uninsured residents, and cities would have to scramble to find additional health care money for their citizens.  Elected officials will be faced with coming up with funds for more EMS trips, more psychiatric problems, and more involvement with law enforcement because of out of control health issues. 

The other bit of good news was the Governor Kasich issued veto of the unrelated bit of voting restrictions slipped into the transportation bill.  This would have forced students to register their car within Ohio if they change their residence to Ohio.  They would have 30 days to register their car after they change their residence to Ohio in voting.  This would be very difficult for the local boards to enforce, and would dissuade students from changing their residence for voting.  Governor Kasich recognized all the problems and the potential lawsuit and vetoed this short sighted proposal.  Why don't legislators want to encourage student voting and encourage students studying in Ohio to remain here?  Why are they trying to put up all these barriers?  Why do they continue to try to encourage voting lawsuits? Thanks to the Governor for turning back further voting restrictions.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Feb202015

Medicaid Verification Letters

The State of Ohio has requested income verification from all those who signed up for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.  So far 107,000 people have not responded to the letters.  They are given until the end of the February to respond or they will be terminated from the program.  This could mean that the medicine that they are on will not be covered if they show up to fill a prescription.  They will have to re-sign up if they attempt to get medical assistance. 

Low income people including homeless people move frequently and often have a hard time getting mail.  It seems like there should be a better way to maintain eligibility with health insurance than the US mail.  All the work health care groups did last year to get people to sign up may be overturned.  The shelters are not seeing a huge number of unclaimed letters, but I am still checking on this.  We hope the lack of submission of paperwork will not reduce the number of insured in Ohio. This increase in the number who have health insurance has been one of the few bright spots for lower income people according to an analysis by the Plain Dealer today:

The impact was most significant for the bottom 20 percent (incomes of less than $20,000), where the portion of income directed toward state taxes was expected to increase by 0.9 percent, or $116 a year.

We also have to wonder how much this has to do with an overwhelmed workforce at Ohio Jobs and Family Services which has some incredible case load.  Try getting a person to answer the phone or respond to your voice mail.  My experience is that the voice mail boxes are full for most of the workers. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Feb032015

COHHIO Gives Summary of Ohio Budget

February 2, 2015

MEMO TO HOUSING ADVOCATES
FROM: Bill Faith, Executive Director, COHHIO
RE: Biennium Budget Bill Housing Provisions

Today, the Kasich Administration released its budget proposal for the next two years. Over the coming days and weeks, there will be lots of details to uncover but we want to highlight a few issues related to housing and homelessness where we know the administration is taking some action.

1.) The Ohio Housing Trust Fund - The OHTF will continue to receive the $50 million in each of the next two years, but an additional helpful step is the formation of a reserve fund to help stabilize year-to-year funding fluctuations. Since 2003, the OHTF has been supported by a fee tied to recording of documents at the county level up to a maximum of $50 million per year. The budget proposal amends the OHTF statute to create a $15 million reserve amount to be used to fill the gap in years when the $50 million level is not reached.

2.) Homeless Youth Employment Assistance - Historically, funds available through WIA (Workforce Invest Act) -- now WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) -- have not worked well in many communities assisting homeless people or other vulnerable populations, such as transition aged youth. WIOA funds are now being shifted to focus on disconnected youth (including homeless youth) ages 16 to 24. Additionally, the Administration has committed to focus more job opportunities and supports to homeless youth, with a portion of the governor’s discretionary WIOA funds helping homeless youth gain employment as they stabilize their housing.

3.) Continued Health Care Coverage – Everyone remembers the battle two years ago to extend health care coverage for more low-wage workers and vulnerable people left out of the Medicaid program. The Governor’s budget provides for the ongoing funding and coverage necessary to support this critically important health care coverage.

4.) Supportive Housing and Medicaid -- The Administration has signaled that it supports, through changes in the state Medicaid plan, an expanded package of supportive services which will allow housing and service organizations to help people who experience chronic homelessness remain in stable housing.

5.) Other Housing Resources in Budget Plan

a.) The budget plan includes $5m to expand the recovery housing capacity over the next two years. This continues and expands on the $10 million provided last year in the mid-biennial review.

b.) Initiates a pilot program for a subsidy to housing providers that support low-income people with disabilities at $1 million a year through a partnership with the Department of Medicaid the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

c.) Sustain funding for Residential State Supplement program at $15M annually while MHAS works to improve the quality of the RSS housing.

6.) In addition to the budget points mentioned above, the administration will leverage the following additional resources it has received or is expected to receive in the near future:

a.) Ohio will begin preparing for the receipt of National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) dollars, expected to be approximately $10 million a year. The Kasich Administration announced February 2nd that the Ohio Development Services Agency will administer the NHTF and OHFA will develop the allocation plan and allocate program funds. The NHTF will provide revenue to build, preserve, and rehabilitate housing for people who are extremely low income.

b.) A $3.6M Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI) grant was awarded to OMHAS to provide programming and services for individuals who are chronically homeless. The funds will be used to leverage PATH to reach 820 people over the next three years in 5 Ohio cities.

c.) Finally, Ohio is expected to receive news in early 2015 of being awarded almost $12 million in HUD Section 811 grant that will allow OHFA and Medicaid to develop and subsidize over 500 units of rental housing with supportive services for low-income adults with a disability. This resource will work with existing units to create long-term housing success.

To learn more about how these and other budget measures will impact housing across the state, consider attending the COHHIO conference April 13-15.

All the best, and thanks for your support.

Bill Faith, Executive Director
COHHIO

Friday
May022014

Award Winners at Care Alliance

John Corlett and Brian Davis both received awards from Care Alliance at the Annual Meeting last week.  Francis Afram-Gyening (on left) presents the award to John Corlett (middle holding award) for all his work locally to expand health insurance for low income people in Cleveland.  John is an executive at MetroHealth and he put in place MetroHealth Care Plus in preparation for Medicaid Expansion.   This policy has allowed nearly 40,000 people locally to finally have health insurance.    Cuyahoga County is a far better community because of John Corlett and we are way ahead in signing people up for Medicaid when compared to the other counties in Ohio.  This will have huge ramifications in saving money for the hospitals indigent care budgets and the health clinics. 

The Care Alliance Board also gave an award to Brian Davis Community Organizer for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.  Afram-Gyening and outreach worker, Jim Schlecht, presented the award to Davis for his years of service to the homeless community in Cleveland.  Afram-Gyening cited his long history with NEOCH going back 20 years including a time when Davis led a protest outside of the previous incarnation of Care Alliance called Healthcare for the Homeless.  Afram-Gyening also made the crowd aware of the work of Davis in keeping people safe over this past winter.  

Just a few numbers from the Care Alliance Annual Report:

  • 10,643 patients served.
  • 59% of the clients were experiencing homelessness and half had a chronic health condition.
  • 68% had no health insurance.
  • 94% live in extreme poverty.
  • 663 patients received dentures, partials or other restorative dental care.
  • 2,473 received behavioral health services.

This number of 68% having no health insurance in 2013 is significant.  Previously this number hovered around 80%.  Thanks to MetroHealth this number is going down in our community, and it will continue to decrease with Medicaid expansion.  This is going to have huge implications for the community with a healthier society and improved outcomes.