(September 4, 2019)

By Chelsea Kelleher, Senior Policy Consultant

On Saturday, January 12th, police responded to a call from a house in suburban Chico, California. When they arrived, the officers found 13 individuals unconscious, apparently the result of a mass drug overdose. Officers administered Narcan, the nasal spray form of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and were able to revive 12 of the 13 individuals. Authorities later discovered that the overdose was caused by the presence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin....

(July 18, 2019)

By Lilly Clements, Junior Policy Consultant, Tanya Schwartz, Director, Medicaid Policy, and Ryan MacDonald, Director, Outreach and Engagement

On July 1, 2019, eight additional counties in California launched the Health Homes Program (HHP) for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) beneficiaries. The two counties that launched HHP on January 1st of this year – San Bernardino and Riverside – also expanded their HHPs to serve Medi-Cal members with mental health conditions in addition to those with physical health conditions....

(June 28, 2019)

By Chelsea Kelleher, Senior Policy Consultant

There are numerous initiatives underway in California to address the opioid epidemic. The state’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion Project, administered by the Department of Health Care Services and funded through recent federal grants from SAMHSA, has a three-prong approach to addressing the crisis: 1) reducing over-prescribing; 2) increasing access to MAT; and 3) increasing the availability of Naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

MAT is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder which uses FDA-approved medications and counseling to treat the whole patient in their effort to achieve recovery from addiction. The MAT Expansion Project is promoting access to treatment by increasing the number of individuals able to prescribe medications, the number of settings in which treatment is offered, and by educating the public about evidence-based SUD treatment and where it is available....

(May 29, 2019)

By Lilly Clements, Junior Policy Consultant and Megan Thomas, Associate Director

Since 2014, the Cal MediConnect (CMC) program has coordinated care for some of the most vulnerable Californians. CMC was developed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to better serve dual eligible beneficiaries – those enrolled in both Medicare and Medi-Cal (Medicaid in California).

A primary focus of CMC is to better coordinate behavioral health care service delivery for members. This week, DHCS released a report entitled “Improving Behavioral Health Integration and Coordination for Cal MediConnect (CMC) Members,” which details the complexities and nuances of CMC plans’ efforts to integrate behavioral health into the care delivery system for dual eligible beneficiaries....

(April 30, 2019)

By Hilary Haycock, President

Harbage Consulting started at our dining room table – the same table in my dining room today. Peter would sit with his laptop, cell phone, piles of papers and an occasional lap cat, to talk with clients, send emails, write papers, and do all the hard work to make his vision for better healthcare a reality....

(March 22, 2019)

By Lucy Pagel, Senior Policy Consultant

California’s Whole Person Care (WPC) pilots – a key component of the state’s Medi-Cal 2020 Section 1115 waiver – have been operational since 2017. With two years of implementation behind them, the 25 WPC pilots have met with many challenges and discovered new opportunities to improve access to health and social services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. This week, the Department of Health Care Services published a paper Whole Person Care: A Mid-Point Check-in, written by Lucy Pagel, Carol Backstrom, and Hilary Haycock of Harbage Consulting (funded by the California Health Care Foundation)....