Whole Person Care

Whole Person Care InfographicThe County of Orange was approved through the State of California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on October 24, 2016 for a five-year project to implement the Whole Person Care (WPC) pilot program.

WPC is the coordination of physical, behavioral health, and social services in a patient-centered approach with the goals of improved health and well-being through more efficient and effective use of resources for Medi-Cal beneficiaries struggling with homelessness. WPC promotes increased communication between hospital emergency rooms, CalOptima, community clinics, OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Behavioral Health Services and Public Health Services as well as recuperative care providers to improve access and navigation of services for the homeless population.   

So what is recuperative care (RC)? RC provides acute and post-acute medical care in a supportive transitional housing environment for eligible participants. Additional services include linkage to applicable programs and services for which the participant qualifies and may benefit from, such as Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, mental health and or/substance use disorder treatment; as well as assistance in preparing for housing readiness and obtaining any necessary forms of identification.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved the application for the funding in June 2016, pledging to contribute local matching funds for a total of $23.5 million over five years from Mental Health Services Act dollars, tobacco-settlement funds and County General Funds. In June 2017, HCA was awarded additional funding from the State as part of the approval of our Round 2 application. As a result, the County will receive an increased match in federal dollars, with total spending reaching $31,066,860 over the course of the program. 

The Whole Person Care Program funds the following:

  • Expands a community referral network addressing non-medical needs of the population.
  • Brings in the shelter bed providers as WPC participating entities.
  • Recuperative care beds, including some specifically targeted to medically fragile individuals in the shelter programs.
  • Adds homeless outreach and navigation staff to six hospitals and nine community clinics.
  • Adds additional Behavioral Health Outreach and Engagement staff.
  • Dedicates resources to find housing opportunities for persons who are also living with mental illness.
  • Provides peer mentoring services to aid persons living with mental illness to stay in housing once placed.
  • Includes a public health nurse to review recuperative care admissions.
  • Provides funding for the bi-directional, electronic sharing of information between the WPC Care Plan and CalOptima’s Care Plan.
  • Provides additional funding for HCA’s administrative costs associated with the WPC.

The WPC goals are consistent with the County’s ongoing efforts to take a broader approach to meeting the needs of those without permanent housing. The County’s program includes the development of WPC Connect, which will alert participating entities when a patient experiencing homelessness enters an emergency room. Upon notification of a non-urgent situation, the County’s community partners will connect the individual to recuperative care or other supportive services.

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