CLEVELAND, Ohio - According to MetroHealth System officials, they have received approval from federal officials to launch a Medicaid waiver program that will provide a medical home and health coverage for up to 30,000 uninsured residents of Cuyahoga County.
The program, called MetroHealth Care Plus, is the first in Ohio to provide health care coverage to more of the uninsured. It is designed to provide the high-quality services people need to maintain their health, while also reducing healthcare spending.
The program started Tuesday. They've enrolled 10,000 Cuyahoga County adults so far.
"We are grateful that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the State of Ohio's Office of Medical Assistance and our own Cuyahoga County government shared our commitment to reduce the uninsured rate in Cuyahoga County, and to improve the health status and quality of care for thousands of county residents," said Edward Hills, DDS, Interim President and CEO of MetroHealth.
Hills was grateful for the support of local and state leaders.
"I particularly want to thank Ohio Medicaid Director John McCarthy, Cuyahoga County Executive Edward FitzGerald and Cuyahoga County Council for working with us to make this happen. I also want to thank U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Representatives Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Renacci, and former Representatives Steven LaTourette and Dennis Kucinich for expressing their support for the waiver with CMS."
The MetroHealth System will finance this care locally with the $36 million annual subsidy it receives from Cuyahoga County taxpayers, which allows the MetroHealth Care Plus program to leverage another $64 million in annual federal Medicaid matching funds. No state dollars are being used to pay for the demonstration project.
"MetroHealth will be on the forefront of expanding health coverage to uninsured Ohioans- helping to improve access to appropriate health care and reduce costs to taxpayers and businesses in Ohio," said Senator Brown. "By covering up to 30,000 uninsured Ohioans, MetroHealth will improve the health of Ohioans while reducing costly emergency room visits."
To be covered under MetroHealth Care Plus, Cuyahoga County residents must be:
· 19 to 64 years old
· Not eligible for regular Medicaid
· Income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level ($14,856 a year for a family of one)
· U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States for 5+ years
Enrollees of MetroHealth Care Plus will be assigned to a primary care provider who will coordinate all of their health care. These patients can obtain covered benefits from network providers for such healthcare services as:
· Preventive exams
· Doctor visits
· Prescription medications
· Hospital care
· Emergency services
· Dental care
· Physical and speech therapies
· Home health care
· Mental health services
· Nutrition counseling
· Alcohol and drug abuse services
· Durable medical equipment
· Transportation to MetroHealth medical appointments
To find out more information about the MetroHealth Care Plus Program you can contact the hospital at (216)957-2325 or visit their website www.metrohealth.org/careplus. You can pick up an application at any MetroHealth location.