HCA, DOH Meet on Medicaid Coverage Possibilities for Virtual Senior Center 

Situation Report | February 15, 2021

HCA met on Friday with senior officials in the Office of Health Insurance Programs (OHIP) to explore the possibilities of Medicaid coverage for “Virtual Senior Center” (VSC) services for home care and Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) recipients.

HCA has received multiple state foundation awards to provide for a statewide expansion of the technology base and service capacity of the VSC. The VSC platform is pioneered and operated by HCA member agency Selfhelp Community Services. The expanded VSC has currently grown to support nearly a thousand homebound elderly, disabled and medically vulnerable persons facing high risks of isolation.

State level interest in VSC has been building from multiple state agencies and, at the field level, from providers, MLTCs, local offices for aging, social day centers, consumer organizations, and other service sources. Most recently, OHIP, HCA and VSC leaders have been exchanging queries on how and whether VSC could be incorporated into current Medicaid benefit designs, enabling it to be offered as an option for plans, providers and patients.

Friday’s meeting took the discussion to a deeper level of analysis. As next steps, HCA and VSC leaders will provide the Department with further information needed to determine plausibility and eligibility for VSC coverage.

HCA greatly appreciates OHIP’s interest and engagement in this potential new Medicaid-covered service opportunity in the home care and long term care systems. We also look forward to continued support from the State Office for Aging in making the service available to non-Medicaid individuals.

Currently, individuals are enrolling in private-pay VSC services. Also, new seed funds are being made available under HCA’s grant to assist with startup services for providers and individuals. Please see an announcement later today on this exciting development.

HCA encourages providers and plans to explore this service opportunity at https://hca-nys.org/vsc.