Supported Employment is a now a Medicaid Health Benefit in Washington State

Great Minds at Work focuses on educating employers and connecting them with resources to be able to successfully work with people who may have treated mental health issues or substance abuse disorders (together, behavioral health challenges). In support of the Becoming Employed Starts Today (BEST) Mental Health Transformation Grant, Great Minds at Work helps combat the stigma of mental health and substance abuse issues in the workplace.

In order for employers to successfully hire and retain workers, organizations that are licensed to help people with behavioral health challenges provide the expert support needed in these employment relationships. Traditionally, these organizations have been funded through a variety of sources, but are now being recognized as foundational services in the field of health care.

Foundational Community Supports (FCS) is Initiative 3 of Washington State’s 5 year Medicaid Transformation, and creates 2 new benefits that provide access to supportive housing and supported employment services for Medicaid populations with the greatest and most immediate needs. The Foundational Community Supports Program is overseen by the Health Care Authority and administered through a Third Party Administrator (TPA), Amerigroup.  Amerigroup is responsible for building a network of both traditional and social service providers who help eligible Medicaid recipients obtain and maintain housing and employment. This innovative project is focused on finding sustainable ways of transforming the healthcare system to save money and provide better health outcomes among the populations served. By integrating services that are not traditionally provided by the health care system, including supported housing and employment, the Health Care Authority hopes to create a system that truly addresses the health of its population rather than just medical symptoms.

The long-term goal is to have these services as a continued benefit that is incorporated into Washington’s general Medicaid program. That way, all Washingtonians who are eligible for Medicaid will have access to these benefits.

Employers who want to participate in supported employment relationships should connect with one of Amerigroup’s contracted providers. These providers can vary by location, and include Behavioral Health Organizations, long-term care agencies, social service agencies, and even counties. The full provider network list can be found in the Washington Foundational Community Supports Provider Directory.