Resources for Families with Medicaid in Colorado
Colorado County Mental Health Systems
County Mental Health Centers have been established to serve the behavioral health needs of families with Medicaid throughout Colorado. In addition, during the past decade especially, a burgeoning movement has gathered momentum in Colorado, aimed at increasing the level of access and integration of behavioral health services for low income and rural families. A myriad of programs focused on integrating mental health care into primary care, school and other community settings have been piloted. In an era beset by increasing rates of random acts of violence often, although not always, perpetuated by individuals with known or suspected mental illness, public outcry has demanded high level political and legislative attention and funding be funneled to behavioral health.
Government & Other Public & Charitably Funded Programs for Underprivileged, Low Income Population of Colorado
There are a number of novel and well established non-profit and government sponsored programs targeting disadvantaged families in Colorado. As one example, the Colorado Health Institute (CHI), Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), the Colorado Medicaid Behavioral Health Organizations (BHOs), have aligned to form the Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO), with a primary agenda of ensuring families who qualify for Medicaid have a “medical home,” and adequate access to primary care with ideally co-located and integrated mental health services. The Colorado Psychiatric Access and Consultation for Kids (C-PACK) project is a recently launched, pilot program, funded and implemented by the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Services, Inc. (CBHS) and The Colorado Health Foundation (CHF), aimed at providing child psychiatric consultation services to primary care providers throughout Colorado.
Additional Governor Sponsored & Non-Profit Programs for Underprivileged, Low Income Population in Colorado
The Colorado Governor’s Office, along with numerous charitable foundations including the Rose and Anschutz Family Foundations, have generously funded innovative projects such as the Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program (CAMP), the Healthy Expectations Adolescent Response Team (HEART) and Project Consult-Liaison Mental Illness and Behavior (CLIMB), all designed to imbed proactive mental health screening and intervention services into primary care clinics which primarily serve disadvantaged, low income patients who are either uninsured or receiving Medicaid. Relative to other populations, families who qualify for Medicaid generally have superior access to pediatric behavioral health services in Colorado.
Flexible, Community-Based, Systems of Care Needed for Families Living in Poverty
The types of providers and programs needed for families with low incomes typically differ significantly from those designed to serve middle income families. For instance, families with low incomes are often plagued with high levels of psychosocial adversity and histories of trauma. It has been well established, that clinic or hospital based behavioral health programs generally do not meet the needs of families under significant financial duress. Instead, there is a prolific body of literature, dating back several decades, that has demonstrated, flexible, “wrap around,” community-based, systems of care more aptly serve disadvantaged families. Such families typically require much more care coordination, case management and crisis intervention, than do relatively more financially secure families. Hence the providers most needed to serve low income populations, tend to have bachelor’s degrees or counseling degrees and not masters or doctorates. Standardized psychotherapy protocols are generally not indicated in instances where there are high levels of psychosocial adversity and unstable living situations. Instead, services that aptly target underprivileged families tend to be individualized and flexible, customized according to the family’s schedule and needs, with the majority of services delivered in natural, community settings, such as homes, schools, churches or primary care provider offices.