Medicaid Financing for Services in Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless People: Current Practices and Opportunities. 2.4. Looking Ahead to 2014: How is the Situation Likely to Change for Federally Qualified Health Centers?

02/24/2012

When nearly all homeless people gain eligibility for Medicaid under the ACA, more FQHCs will likely find it feasible to deliver health care services tailored to meet the needs of PSH residents. HCH providers and other FQHCs that are already committed to serving homeless people and other people with complex health and psycho-social challenges will be able to increase the revenues they get from Medicaid, if they can expand their staff and services.

However, the ACA, when fully implemented in 2014, will increase demand for access to primary care services among all uninsured low-income Americans. Many newly eligible people have mental health and substance use conditions and many of them have not have had routine access to primary health care or specialty behavioral health care. Given the shortages of both primary care practitioners and psychiatrists, FQHCs will be hard pressed to meet all needs. Moreover, if states do not remove same-day billing exclusions, they will continue to pose a significant barrier to offering comprehensive and integrated services. Health Centers that do not currently have the capacity to serve chronically homeless people and PSH residents may find it more compelling to respond to other priorities--for example, to focus on maintaining the loyalty of low-income families who have been relying on the Health Center for access to affordable health care, but who will have the option of getting care from other providers when they become insured under ACA.

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