The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is highlighting a program aimed at bettering managing long term healthcare services and support. It’s open to certain older Pennsylvanians and people with physical disabilities.

Officials say there are many great providers in the long-term care system right now, but the system is not well-coordinated. Community HealthChoices is looking to change that.

“Better coordination and more opportunities for home and community based services, while at the same time not requiring them to make any changes to their Medicare coverage,” says Kevin Hancock, Deputy. Secretary of the Department of Human Services’ Office of Long Term Living.

Community HealthChoices, or CHC, will move long-term care systems like nursing facilities and home and community based services from fee-for-service into managed care. This means healthcare providers will be billing  Managed Care Organizations for health care services. These Managed Care Organizations will be responsible for providing services to the recipients.

For residents with more than one provider or covered by more than one insurance, CHC would help coordinate these services to improve the quality of healthcare they receive. It’s based on serving the recipients at home and in the community, rather than nursing homes and other facilities.

“This program is meant to do a better job of offering home and community based services, and to also offer a better opportunity to coordinate their care between their Medicare services, and all of the Medicaid services like long term services and supports,” Hancock explains.

CHC was introduced by Governor Wolf to increase opportunities for older residents and people with physical disabilities to stay in their homes and receive care, rather than in facilities. Officials say this program creates a long term support system that gives recipients choice, control, and a variety of quality services. There are a few eligibility requirements to take advantage of CHC.

“It is open to people who are financially and clinically eligible for long term care, and also anybody who’s dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and that’s for anybody who’s 21 years of age or over,” Hancock explains.

Eligible residents can enroll in CHC online starting in January. The Department of Human Services will reach out to eligible residents to tell them more about their options.  Residents will then be able to choose a Managed Care Organization in their area.

DHS officials are looking for community organizations in Erie that are willing to host information sessions about CHC.  If your organization is interested, you can reach out to the Office of Long Term Living here: 717-425-7606