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New Kentucky Health Program's Community Engagement to Begin in Campbell Co.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky announced a new partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky as the state prepares to launch Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health), which will administer the new Medicaid waiver program.

The move follows President Donald Trump's permission to Kentucky to make changes after the Commonwealth expanded its Medicaid program under former President Barack Obama, and ex-Governor Steve Beshear in a program called kynect. Now, some Medicaid users will have to work or volunteer in order to retain coverage, among other changes.

The community engagement component of Kentucky HEALTH is called Partnering to Advance Training and Health (PATH).ing and Health).

Community engagement begins July 1 in Campbell County with other regions in the state following through the end of the year.

“Kentucky HEALTH will transform the lives of Kentuckians, and we are pleased to have the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky come alongside us as we begin the waiver implementation process,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “The Foundation has a proven track record of investing in the health of Kentuckians, and we look forward to working with them to leverage stakeholders from across the state to ensure that beneficiaries have access to the most current resources and information about Kentucky HEALTH.”

PATH, the state said in a news release, is designed to help Medicaid recipients become more involved in their communities through employment, training, education, volunteering, caregiving, or treatment for substance use disorder. The Foundation’s partnership with the Commonwealth will help provide information and resources about the Kentucky HEALTH program and PATH requirements to various stakeholders across the state.

“Partnering with the Foundation is a natural progression in our efforts to reach employers and volunteer organizations around the state,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier. “Having support from diverse groups across the Commonwealth is integral to making sure citizens are informed, engaged in the program and moving down the path toward success.”

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will collaborate with local, regional, and statewide partners to build and coordinate support services and opportunities to help beneficiaries meet the community engagement (PATH) and premium requirements. The Foundation also will promote preventive health care services and focus on other ways to improve health outcomes, particularly in the area of substance use treatment, and provide health and financial literacy education. In addition, the Foundation will create an advisory council to gather and share input among all stakeholders and resolve issues as the waiver is implemented.

“The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky works to improve the health of our people, so we have a singular objective in the endeavor announced today, and that is keeping Kentuckians covered, whether through Medicaid benefits or the transition to commercial insurance,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation. “If they need substance use treatment, we want to help ensure they get it. If they need support getting and keeping a job or paying premiums, we want to help make that happen. Health coverage leads to better preventive care and better health. Neither the people nor the budget of Kentucky can afford the health costs of lapses in coverage.”

The PATH Community Engagement requirements do not apply to all Medicaid recipients, including pregnant women, children, and individuals identified as “medically frail.” To meet the requirements, PATH participants must participate in activities such as education, job training, employment, or volunteering for 80 hours per month.  Participants will use the online system at citizenconnect.ky.gov to track their hours.

“In order for Kentucky HEALTH to succeed, we must rethink the way we are delivering support services,” said Derrick Ramsey, Secretary for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. “We must help individuals become more engaged in their healthcare, and help employers be more informed and invested in helping individuals transition successfully from benefits programs to commercial insurance.”

Kentucky HEALTH, which was approved January 12, 2018, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as an 1115 waiver program, was created to increase healthier lifestyles and economic security for able-bodied adults who participate in Kentucky’s Medicaid program, the state said.

More information about the Kentucky HEALTH program, including PATH Community Engagement, can be found online at www.KentuckyHEALTH.ky.gov.

-Staff report