Medi-Cal Health Homes: Coordinating physical health, behavioral health, and community services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with complex needs

Amanda Brewster

Dr. Amanda Brewster

Emmeline Chuang

Dr. Emmeline Chuang

June 16, 2020

In order to enhance the ability of policymakers to learn from and build upon the Health Homes Program, Professors Amanda Brewster and Emmeline Chuang co-led a project to characterize the Medi-Cal Health Home implementation process across California. The Health Homes Program (HHP), together with related initiatives such as the Whole Person Care pilot, represent an extraordinary push to integrate systems of medical, social and behavioral care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Professors Brewster and Chuang interviewed key personnel of Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans (MCPs), community-based care management entities, and other service providers supporting Health Homes enrollees in specific counties in order to understand the approaches used by Medi-Cal MCPs to implement HHP. Their findings emphasize the importance of:

1. Coordination among MCPs for reducing administrative burden associated with HHP.

2. In-person, field-based outreach to successfully engage and retain eligible beneficiaries.

3. Investment in developing community-based care management entities’ capacity to deliver HHP services and meet state-mandated reporting requirements.

Dr. Amanda Brewster is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the UC Berkeley School of Health. Her research examines how management and inter-organizational relationships influence the performance of health care organizations, and her recent work focuses on coordination of health care and social services to address both medical and social determinants of health.  

Dr. Emmeline Chuang is an Associate Professor and Mack Distinguished Professor at UC Berkeley Social Welfare. Her research focuses on how health and human service organizations can improve service access and well-being of underserved populations. Her research has been funded by agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the William T Grant Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Hitachi Foundation.