CSAC Bulletin Article

DHCS Initiates 30-Day Public Comment Period for BH-CONNECT and CalAIM Transitional Rent Services

August 3, 2023

On August 1, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began a 30-day public comment period soliciting feedback on a new Section 1115 demonstration request, entitled the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Organized Networks of Equitable Care and Treatment (BH-CONNECT) demonstration. DHCS also initiated a 30-day public comment period soliciting feedback on a proposed amendment to the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Section 1115 demonstration related to transitional rent services. The public comment period for both applications is through August 31, 2023. Background information, links to public comment materials, and information about how to provide feedback can be found on the DHCS BH-CONNECT webpage and DHCS CalAIM 1115 Demonstration webpage.


BH-CONNECT is the proposed new Medicaid demonstration project under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act to expand access to and strengthen the continuum of community-based behavioral health services for Medi-Cal members living with serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED). DHCS is requesting Section 1115 demonstration expenditure and waiver authorities to operate a discrete set of activities that generally cannot be covered under Medi-Cal State Plan authorities. Key features include a workforce initiative, activity stipends, cross-sector incentive program for children involved in child welfare, statewide incentive program, incentive program for opt-in counties, transitional rent services, and short-term residential and inpatient psychiatric stays in institutions for mental diseases (IMD). The proposed BH-CONNECT Section 1115 application can be found here.

CalAIM Transitional Rent Services

To improve the well-being and health outcomes of Medi-Cal members during critical transitions or who meet high-risk criteria, DHCS is seeking an amendment to the CalAIM Section 1115 demonstration to provide up to six months of transitional rent services to eligible individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and transitioning out of institutional levels of care, congregate residential settings, correctional facilities, the child welfare system, recuperative care facilities, short-term post-hospitalization housing, transitional housing, homeless shelters or interim housing, as well as those who meet the criteria for unsheltered homelessness or for a Full-Service Partnership (FSP) program. Transitional rent services will be voluntary for Medi-Cal managed care plans to offer and for Medi-Cal members to use. The proposed CalAIM Section 1115 Transitional Rent Services Amendment application can be found here.

Public Hearings

DHCS will be hosting two public hearings on Friday, August 11, and Thursday, August 24, to solicit stakeholder comments. The public hearings will take place in person and have online video streaming and telephonic conference capabilities to ensure accessibility. Information for zoom registration and call-in details can be found here.

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