Hamacher, Russell to lead national Medicaid seminar

FLINT — Genesee Health Plan CEO and President Linda Hamacher and Genesee County Community Mental Health CEO Danis Russell will be keynote presenters on innovations for expanding care to insured people on Feb. 7 at a national Medicaid seminar in Orlando, Fla.

“Genesee Health Plan is a model for community partnerships that help people without insurance or who are underinsured get the medical and behavioral health care and resources they need to stay healthy. I’m excited to share our story with other communities throughout the nation,” Hamacher said. “Programs like Genesee Health Plan will continue to be critical to local communities even as national health care reform is implemented in the next few years. In Genesee County, we expect thousands of individuals will continue to need access to quality affordable health care, and we want to help other communities across the nation better prepare for the future.”

“Mental health care will play an increasingly critical role in ensuring families are safe and healthy, and community organizations like ours are on the frontlines of this important effort as people struggle to get access to a wide spectrum of care,” Russell said. “Genesee County and community partners like the Genesee Health Plan are deploying innovate, cost-effective ways to get quality care to people. We’re stretching value out of every dollar, and we’re excited to share some of our successes with community leaders from throughout the nation.”

While the federal Affordable Care Act will help more people get health coverage, Genesee County will continue to see an estimated 25,000 uninsured people, down from around 54,000, according to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation in a 2012 report.

Launched in 2001, Genesee Health Plan provides basic health services to adults in Genesee County who don’t have health insurance. Services provided include doctor visits, lab tests, Xrays and basic prescriptions. Genesee Health Plan is the only local health plan in Michigan that is funded directly by the community through a special millage. In 2012, Genesee County voters approved the GHP millage by more than 64 percent, with a whopping 96 percent of all county precincts voting in support of the millage.

The largest of Michigan’s 27 county health plans, GHP’s millage funds all go toward providing life-saving health care to 60,000 residents in Genesee County. As a result of GHP, emergency room visits by GHP participants are down 51 percent, the number of uninsured children has declined 25 percent, and thousands more people have access to dental, vision and mental health care.

Hamacher and Russell’s seminar focuses on a community-based approach to the integration of medical and behavioral health in the uninsured population. They will also discuss demographic and behavioral-medical diagnostic trends of the Medicaid expansion population, and analyze hospital ER and inpatient hospitalizations cost savings and improved outcomes.

The national Medicaid Innovations seminar in Orlando brings together participants in the Medicaid universe who want to participate, share and learn about innovations that promote performance improvement and transformation. — G.G.

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