The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 15, 2014

Help comes for patients with chronic conditions

FAIRMONT — Some West Virginians with Medicaid will have access to a new resource with the recent launch of the Health Homes initiative. The program, which is grant funded, launched July 1 of this year.

The general program was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The program is designed to provide better coordinated care for Medicaid patients with chronic conditions.

The West Virginia version of the program works to better coordinate patient care for Medicaid patients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and who may have hepatitis B or C, Penny Hall, communications manager for the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services, said.

While in some other areas of the country, the program is being used to coordinate care for Medicaid patients with a wide variety of chronic conditions, Hall said in West Virginia, they decided to start small.

"Some states started really big and tried to deal with every issue possible," Hall said. "We decided that we wanted to take smaller steps, and make sure our model works before we try to extend it out to a bigger population. We're hoping we see some really positive results."

The program works through coordinated care, using a professional team to help patients manage their medical conditions and medications, remember doctor appointments, and understand and interpret medical tests and results. The team includes a care coordinator, whose primary responsibility is to "make sure that everybody is talking," Hall said.

Find the full story in Wednesday’s Times West Virginian, available at newsstands or through home delivery by calling 304-367-2525 or 304-367-2527.

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