Health Homes

Independent Perspective 1691 with guest Hans Schiffert about the various aspects of Health Homes.

Host:  Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Hans Schiffert, Director of Health Homes Care Coordination at WNYIL. I am your host Ernie Churchwell, and apologies I've got just a teensy bit of a cold, but as they say the show must go on. So as long as Hans is willing to go with it, that's okay with me. Hans, I'm sure that there are a lot of people listening, that are not familiar with Health Homes Care Coordination. Could you tell us whom it serves and the sort of things you do for people?

Guest:  Sure. Absolutely. And also, thanks. Thanks for having me Ernie. Health Homes is a service that provides comprehensive care management to Medicaid recipients to make certain their medical, mental health and substance use disorders are being met. Individuals who enroll in Health Homes are matched with a care manager who helps to make sure that all providers involved in the members care are working together and sharing the information that is important in supporting all aspects of that individual's health. Health Homes members are more likely to receive preventative care and therefore are less likely to overuse expensive emergency rooms or require hospital admissions. So generally, the population does focus on again individuals with active Medicaid, two or more chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or hypertension. Those are just a few out of a long list, as well as a single qualifying chronic condition such as a serious mental illness or HIV AIDS. I think the biggest part is it's also even though individuals may have active Medicaid and one or two of those required diagnosis that you know, they would still have to meet the threshold for barriers in which they experience relating to their personal, what we call social determinants of health and access to providers, the health care system, and then the other services that they may need on an individual basis.

Host:  Based on what you said, would you consider Health Homes to be a hospital diversion program?

Guest:  Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely Ernie. That's definitely one of the big goals and benchmarks. That both the state and our collaborating agencies are looking at. So, it is to reduce the recidivism within emergency rooms, as well as lower the health care costs when somebody has a chronic condition. Oftentimes, it worsens if they have a lack of access to health care system that can increase payment when they're coming in, as opposed to being proactive with their care coordinator. And, you know, really addressing the needs at hand prior to them becoming larger issues.

Host:  Imagine when appropriate, you may work in tandem with some of the other WNYIL staff for particular needs?

Guest:  Absolutely. And that's one of the wonderful parts of being a part of WNYIL as a family of agencies. You know, we offer Health Homes is just one of the programs cross agency programs that are highlighted. Obviously, we're highlighting it here today, but we have a wide breadth of service. And we do indeed, our care coordinators, our staff do indeed work with all their departments internally, as well as collaborate with external community resources and partners and agencies.

Host:  Hans, we're totally out of time. I'm sure you've raised questions. How can people reach you to get them answered?

Guest:  Well, we can call me directly at our main office number here in Buffalo 716-836-0822, my direct extension is 523. I would love to answer any calls and answer any questions.

Host:  Thanks so much for being with us today, Hans

Guest:  Thanks for having me Ernie.

Host:  You’ve been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Hans Schiffert, Director of Health Homes Care Coordination at WNYIL and your host such as I am was Ernie Churchwell.