Idaho celebrated several important achievements for home visiting during the 2022 legislative session. The Department of Health & Welfare (DHW) budget included continuation of an annual $1 million of state general revenue funds for home visiting first secured in 2018.
Additionally, the legislature approved Governor Brad Little’s request to spend an additional $3 million from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal relief dollars for home visiting over the next three years. Finally, the state Medicaid budget included a continuation of state funding for Medicaid billing of home visiting services.
Through tenacious action on lawmaker education, administrative advocacy and partner collaboration, Idaho advocates built on successes from previous years in achieving this continued state revenue support for home visiting. Advocates strengthened relationships with new DHW managers and staff and outlined plans to secure more funding and expand access to home visiting, especially for communities of color, Native American communities, and families experiencing behavioral health struggles.
Medicaid billing for home visiting is another example of steady progress. In 2019, Idaho passed a state plan amendment allowing any qualifying Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to bill Medicaid at the same rates. Advocates brought home visiting providers together, along with their state Medicaid office, and hosted a neutral webinar to talk it through. The aim was to build trust and diffuse possible tension so that the new billing opportunity for eligible home visiting services would be embraced. Billing for home visiting services began in January 2021 and has been successfully implemented in Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) and Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs across the state. The home visiting community is continuing to look for ways to strengthen this program. In response to hearing from home visiting partners that the requirements for families to qualify for Medicaid home visiting are too restrictive, advocates are outlining a plan to update the state plan amendment to expand eligibility, including reducing the number of qualifying criteria and expanding additional eligibility criteria.