Take action this week to ensure that AB 361 (Health Homes for Medi-Cal Enrollees)--a bill that would take advantage of federal health reform dollars to support health home services for the chronically homeless--doesn’t get held up in Senate Appropriations.
“Health homes” are an innovative model for uniting medical services and community prevention to improve health while reducing health care spending. Strong evidence supports the health home as an effective model for improving health outcomes, decreasing hospital and nursing home stays, and reducing emergency room visits among chronically homeless people and frequent hospital users. By utilizing an integrated, team-based approach among health care and community service providers, health homes promise to improve the health of California’s most vulnerable residents while cutting Medi-Cal costs.
AB 361 also recognizes that most of what makes people healthy--or not--happens outside the clinic walls. In addition to medical services, the bill will connect patients to critical community services, including housing and child care referrals, school-based health centers, transportation to medical appointments, and peer-recovery support.
We can’t let this opportunity slip away. AB 361 enables California to enact cutting-edge legislation that fuses high-quality, integrated medical care with community services, and provides funding for community prevention efforts.
On August 30, AB 361 (Health Homes for Medi-Cal Enrollees) needs to move off of the Senate Appropriations Suspense file. Let the Senate Appropriations Committee know just how vital health homes are to CA’s most vulnerable residents.
- Fax a letter of support to the Senate Appropriations Committee chair Senator Kevin de León before Friday, August 30 at (916)327-8817. Read a sample letter of support here.
Here are some points to make in your letter of support:
- By leveraging federal health reform funds, AB 361 would improve the health care of our state’s most vulnerable residents while also reducing the burden of acute care costs to Medi-Cal.
- In addition to providing much-needed medical services, AB 361 connects patients to critical community services. This approach recognizes that many of the strategies that keep people healthy--like improving access to healthy food and safe places to be physically active--are also essential for helping people manage chronic disease.
- Quality medical care and community prevention go hand-in-hand. As AB 361 moves forward, the legislature should continue to strengthen the links between community services and clinical care in the bill. These links lead to system-level changes that can further bend the cost curve by permanently improving factors that contribute to poor health in the first place.