When the National Advisory Board (Board) reflected on its work over the past five years and the most pressing needs of individuals served by Medicaid programs today, it was clear that it was all leading to a dedicated focus on developing a culture in which access is foundational to the health care system. A health care system that is built upon a culture of access:
- Is person-centered;
- Supports a holistic view of sustainable long-term health and well-being rooted in communities;
- Has capacity; and
- Is equipped to serve individuals in a culturally-competent manner.
To create a culture of access, the Board believes that a comprehensive approach must include training, public awareness, policy advocacy, and program design changes. Building on the experience from previous Board initiatives, UnitedHealthcare will blend strategies that can be immediately implemented internally along with those that require collaboration with Board members, policymakers, and other organizations. Together, UnitedHealthcare and the Board will advance the vision and work required to create a Culture of Access.
In the first phase of the work, UnitedHealthcare Community and State, in collaboration with the Board, is dedicated to exploring the research and available data to develop recommendations for benefit design to support the following populations in achieving improved health and wellness:
- Individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementias
- Individuals with physical disabilities
- Individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
- Individuals with behavioral disabilities (e.g. Serious Mental Illness)
This phase of the work includes researching and cataloging all of the waivers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. From that research, UnitedHealthcare and the Board will provide recommendations on the core set of benefits needed to ensure individuals along the care continuum have access to needed services at the right time and in the right setting.
In the additional phases of the work, research will continue on examining state and federal policies that create barriers to accessing coverage, as well as other factors that may impede an individual’s path to wellness. The culmination of this project will include:
- Creating policy recommendations to improve the regulatory environment to support a culture of access; and
- Developing principles of person-centeredness and cultural competency that create a foundation upon which UnitedHealthcare staff can leverage in their interactions with members and each other.