OHA releases report demonstrating housing services provided by Oregon’s CCOs

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a report today that underscores the link between health care and housing and demonstrates that Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs) are investing in housing-related services to address Oregon’s housing crisis. The report also addresses the challenges that CCOs face in investing in housing-related services for Oregon Health Plan members.

“Oregon’s CCOs understand that in every corner of Oregon, housing remains a challenge for too many Oregonians. And without stable housing, it is hard to get the health care services individuals need,” said Lynne Saxton, OHA Director. “The report released today highlights a clear link between health care and housing and the need to expand the already great work going on here in Oregon.”

In the Oregon CCO Housing Supports survey report, OHA researchers surveyed 15 of Oregon’s 16 CCOs. All respondents had participated in at least one housing-related service. However, the types of services offered and the degree to which CCOs support housing-related services vary among CCOs based on three general categories:

  • Pre-tenancy housing transition supports (e.g., outreach and engagement, housing search and housing application assistance, move-in costs);
  • Tenancy-sustaining services (e.g., eviction prevention, utilities management or assistance, short-term assistance with food or groceries);
  • Integrated housing and health services (e.g., coordination with primary care, substance abuse, mental health or dental providers, co-located clinical services, recuperative care after hospitalization, food resources).

Oregon’s current Medicaid waiver allows CCOs to use Medicaid dollars for non-medical services, such as housing supports, that result in better health at lower costs. These “flexible services” are a unique component of Oregon’s health system transformation efforts.

On a limited basis, some CCOs are using flexible services to provide housing supports and services such as transitional housing; home improvements such as critical repairs, child safety locks and ramps; assistance with rent, utilities, moving expenses and deposits. However, CCOs express challenges to paying for flexible services on a larger scale. Apart from flexible services, Medicaid does not pay directly for transitional or supportive housing services except in cases involving low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities who are at risk for poor health.

As part of Oregon’s Medicaid waiver renewal application, the state is asking for additional federal funding to address housing and other social determinants of health. The waiver renewal has been submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and is currently awaiting approval.

The CCO housing report is available on the OHA website athttp://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPR/docs/OHA%208440%20CCO-Housing-Survey-Repo....

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