With a growing number of states pursuing health homes and other related opportunities to improve care for high-need, high-cost beneficiaries, interest abounds for best practices that can inform these efforts. Through the Rethinking Care Program, the Center for Health Care Strategies has been working with four innovative states and their partners to test new models of care for beneficiaries with complex needs. The Washington State King County Care Partners program, which began in February 2009, is a community-based, registered nurse-led, multidisciplinary care management program designed to empower clients to address health care needs and enhance coordination, communication, and integration of medical and social services across safety-net providers. The two-year randomized controlled pilot focused on high-risk Medicaid beneficiaries with both physical and behavioral health conditions. A robust evaluation of the project offers important insights to guide the design of state care management programs, including health home initiatives.

This 90-minute webinar summarized the King County Care Partners (KCCP) approach, highlighted key evaluation findings, and addressed policy and operational lessons to inform other state care management efforts.


I. Introduction

Speaker: Allison Hamblin, Vice President of Strategic Planning, CHCS

II. King County Care Partners’ Evaluation Highlights

Speaker: Toni Krupski, PhD, Associate Director, and Jutta Joesch, PhD, Methods Core Director, Center for Healthcare Improvement for Addictions, Mental Illness and Medically Vulnerable Populations, University of Washington at Harborview Medical Center

Toni Krupski and Jutta Joesch, two members of the evaluation team for the KCCP pilot, reviewed the evaluation approach and summarized findings from the two-year pilot. Her discussion addressed the impact of the intervention on the target population, particularly on cost savings, as well as a looked at five outcome measures: (1) medical costs and service use; (2) long-term care services; (3) chemical dependency treatment services; (4) mental health care services; and (5) other outcomes, including criminal arrests and charges, homelessness, and mortality rates.

III. State Perspectives

Speaker: Barbara Lantz, MN, RN, Quality Monitoring Unit Supervisor, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Barbara Lantz shared thoughts on how Washington Medicaid has interpreted these evaluation findings, as well as how the findings relate to those from other care management initiatives in the state. Ms. Lantz also described how the state is using the findings to inform the design of its statewide health home strategy.

IV. Front-line Perspectives

Speaker: Dan Lessler, MD, MHA, Medical Director, King County Care Partners

The successes of the King County Care Partners pilot effort hinge on a high-touch, patient-centered focus to managing the full array of medical, behavioral and social service needs of the individuals served by the program. Dan Lessler commented on the program’s accomplishments and evaluation findings from the front lines.