In 2009 I created The Issachar Project to provide parents, advocates, attorneys and practitioners with a source of information about Medicaid, the Early Period Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit and successful behavioral intervention strategies for treating children in their homes, schools and communities.
Now, the Issachar Project is moving into high gear with the publication of my book The Issachar Project set for a May 25th release in conjunction with my presentation at AutismOne in Chicago the following day. The Issachar Project will present questions to State Medicaid Agency personnel regarding the availability of EPSDT funding for behavioral treatment programs in all fifty US States. With the answers to these questions, it will be possible for a parent to strategically navigate the dark waters of the EPSDT system in any State in a search for honest and compassionate government employees. They do exist, but it’s really disheartening to wade through the system until you find one, especially without a map.
The mission of The Issachar Project is to provide that map, individualized for every state. It will be updated no less than once yearly and maintained in an on-line database, supported by philanthropy. With this map, parents will be able to quickly identify:
• The correct forms to fill out, how to fill them out and where to send them to enroll a child with a disability in the Medicaid system in that State.
• If the State has implemented the “Medically Needy” category of Medicaid eligibility as a matter of State law, then virtually any child under the age of 21 who has a disability can enroll in Medicaid in that State, but the enrollment form has to be specially marked for this category.
• The key people in the State who “know the truth” about EPSDT funding and how it is administered in that State to provide funding for Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services in addition to dental & lead level screenings and the other better-known portions of the EPSDT mandate.
• The names and contact numbers for the Medicaid Managed Care Organization(s) in the family’s catchment area that will be involved in the overseeing of the child’s EPSDT funding, and the “best practice standards” that they espouse.
• The names and contact numbers for the Medicaid Enrolled Practitioners within the family’s catchment area that are now, or could be, involved in delivering EPSDT funded Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services to the child. We will assess their “track record” based on national standards of practice and a review of training and treatment documents, State performance assessments, audit and criminal investigation records and other material that may be submitted by parents.
• The names and contact numbers for “licensed practitioners of the healing arts” who are not yet enrolled in Medicaid within the State who may be interested in working with The Institute for Behavior Change to create a “Medical Home” within a pediatric or family medical practice that will have a strong Behavioral Health component. With help from the Institute for Behavior Change in regard to staff recruitment, training and monitoring, it is possible for any medical practice in any State to implement Effective Treatment in a Wraparound Cup® as efficiently and successfully as The Institute for Behavior Change has done for the past 20 years.