Philadelphia and Community Health Choices in 2019 and Beyond
When the ball dropped at midnight on January 1st of this year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Community Health Choices (CHC), (www.healthchoices.pa.gov) mandatory transition of the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers to the Managed Care model took effect. And so it’s been seven and half months since Pennsylvania’s Premier Home Care Provider, CareGivers America, adapted and adopted to the new MCO-CHC Waiver program, and we are happy to report we remain committed to the Philadelphia participants we serve, the community healthcare partners we’ve made, and to the spirit of the CHC Managed Care philosophy we now operate within. We, unlike many of our competitors, have since day one of this challenging new home care delivery model, been focused on thriving within the new program landscape, focusing on quality over quantity, care over margins and ideals over ideology, and I’m proud to call CareGivers America – Philadelphia my home care agency.
Cutting my teeth as a young, wide eyed caseworker in this great City of Philadelphia I’ve been proud to call my home, I never thought I’d be the Director of Business Development for the largest home care agency in Pennsylvania, never thought I’d be the Director of anything home care related for the simple fact I, like so many Americans, never gave much thought to the importance of long term service and supports in the assistance of the disabled and the aging populations of our great country. I never gave this increasingly important population much thought because I was too caught up in saving the world, and at the time meant devoting my energy to foster children, to individuals with severe mental health and addiction disorders, and to the impoverished communities from Philly to DC, from Oakland to Salt Lake City. It was only after accepting an interview from a Service Coordination Entity (SCE) just weeks after the completion of my graduate degree that I even learned the first thing about the ever-expanding alphabet soup of the Office of Long Term Living (OLTL), Personal Assistance Service (PAS) Providers, and, ultimately, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).
At the time four years ago I accepted my new role overseeing the development and community outreach of a sleepy Service Coordination Agency in a gray, nondescript office building on Bustleton Avenue, I never thought that today I’d be able to write to my fellow Philadelphians that I’ve read and re-read dozens upon dozens of white papers on the philosophy of managed care, created a custom Excel spreadsheet calculating Per Member Per Month (PMPM) MCO rate estimations, or becoming the chair of the Finance Committee of the Pennsylvania Providers Coalition Association (PA-PCA), followed by a whirlwind two years later becoming a fully elected Board Member-at-Large of the same critical LTSS association. But none of that means anything to today being able to say I’m honored to fall into a field that has one simple goal – keeping Pennsylvanians at home with care and comfort, enabling them to remain in the same neighborhoods and the same communities they’ve gotten graduated high school in, got married in, and raised their kids in. From Fox Chase to Southwark, from Roxborough to Hunting Park, what we do is at its best is serving our participants in the all-too-often overlooked idea that it’s any American’s right not privilege to grow old in the home they’re proud to call their community, their neighborhood and even their family.
Today I’m also proud to say that I get to help Philadelphians who are facing the challenge of staying in their own homes and their own communities while working at the best home health agency in our great Commonwealth. When CareGivers America was founded by our now President, Mia Haney, and her dad in their little basement in Scranton 17 years ago, they realized early on that keeping Pennsylvanians at home versus the bleak reality of a soulless nursing home or a sterile hospital bed was at the heart of what makes family and community is. We are not simply Philadelphians or Pennsylvanians or even Americans at the end of the day, we are fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, sons and daughters; we are members of our families and our communities. And if a disability or the inevitable effects of the blessing of growing old hinder that ideal, CareGivers America is here to ensure you can still watch your grandchildren’s little league practice from the same porch your parents watched you, pass by your walls of faded pencil notches marking the height of your children’s next school grade, or to simply rest in your own bed as you watch the Phillies strive towards another pennant, the Mummers parade once more through Broad Street or the Eagles finally win that heart-wrenching Superbowl after long last!
Has the Community Health Choices rollout in Philadelphia and its collar counties been perfect? No. Has CareGivers America’s embrace and execution of this new, complex program been flawless? Certainly not. But do we take pride in being Philly’s Premier Home Care Provider? Absolutely. Do we remain dedicated to keeping you in your own home and your own community with care and comfort? For as long as we’re able. And I implore any Pennsylvanian still confused (rightfully so) about the new CHC home care program to check out our dedicated website breakout page, www.caregiversamerica.com/community-health-choices-pa.com or to explore the three Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) who’ve been awarded the contracts from the Commonwealth to oversee us oversee your at-home care at PA Health & Wellness, www.pahealthwellness.com, AmeriHealth Caritas (known here in Philly as Keystone First), www.keystonefirstpa.com, or UPMC for You, www.upmchealthplan.com, and learn more about your benefits and your choices. There are many new added services Philadelphians may not be aware of that weren’t a part of your old home and community-based waiver program, whether it be for your child, your parent, your grandparent or even your friend and neighbor. We at CareGivers America are always here to help you, and you are always only a phone call away to one of our dedicated Patient Services Liaisons at 215-999-6111 to help answer your questions and help you navigate the many changes, options and benefits of Community Health Choices in Philadelphia.
I want to end this post by saying it has been an honor to call Philadelphia my home over my many years of pounding the pavement that idealistic case worker in Kensington and Germantown and Pennsport and Olney, and It’s now my privilege to help you stay in those same neighborhoods no matter what life throws at you. You are a Philadelphian and you should be proud; we are gritty and tough, resilient and, most certainly, never boring. We are brothers and sisters in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection – we are Philly Rising; we are Philly Strong and we are always Philly Proud… Thank you.
Director of Business Development