A November report released by NHC member National Center for Healthy Housing(NCHH), in partnership with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, revealed that homes where children have been exposed to lead, or have asthma, are not receiving the recommended number of home visits from Medicaid directors.
The report, Healthcare Financing of Healthy Homes Services: Findings from a 2014 Survey of State Reimbursement Policies, reveals that 27 states have some form of Medicaid reimbursement policy in place for in-home asthma services or follow-up service for lead, but many states have no mandatory follow-up procedure in place. Services are required by Medicaid’s early periodic Screening, Diagnostic and treatment benefit for children with lead exposure, but only 18 states currently require provision of these services.
“Asthma and lead poisoning are costly problems for our society and our healthcare system. These costs can be reduced by closing critical gaps in the delivery of recommended services and ensuring that once policies are in place they are translated into actual services for people who need them,” said Amanda Reddy, director of programs and impact at NCHH. Dr. Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, added that the report “provides critical information” to help policymakers understand how vital reimbursement policies work so they can “assist with the challenges states face in implementing them.”
Healthy housing supports much more than physical health of a child. It promotes overall wellbeing. In a recent case study completed by NHC for last October’s How Housing Matters Conference, research showed that healthy, affordable housing promotes improved air quality and decreases exposure to toxins while enabling residents to lead more active lives.
The report authors will perform a follow-up analysis that may assist state and local agencies in exploring financing for healthy homes services at a later time. You can find the full report here.