Governor DeWine Announces the Launch of OhioRISE, the First-Ever Highly Specialized Behavioral Health Program for Children with the Most Complex Needs

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the official launch of Ohio Resilience Through Integrated Systems and Excellence (OhioRISE), a new behavioral health program specializing in Ohio Medicaid managed care for youth with the most complex needs. Nearly 5,500 children and young people can access services immediately.

“OhioRISE offers hope to thousands of Ohio families who have long struggled to find help for their children; it allows us to coordinate care and services for children at risk, to better respond to their emotional, behavioral and physical needs,” Governor DeWine said. “This program will help participating children build lifelong skills to ensure their long-term success.

OhioRISE builds on work the administration began in 2019 that has helped more than 800 families seek care and avoid the heartbreaking possibility of abandoning their child to a child services agency. The launch of OhioRISE is another big step forward in realizing the Governor’s vision to ensure every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“Today’s launch of OhioRISE has taken years and symbolizes a new era of hope for Ohio families who have struggled to find the care their child desperately needs,” said Maureen Corcoran, director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid. “While we’re just getting started, OhioRISE is our commitment to every family in every community across the state, to have access to dedicated behavioral health resources and a team of experts who will bring together and coordinate local supports for our children who need it most. ”

Through a partnership with Aetna Better Health of Ohio, Medicaid’s OhioRISE program fills long-standing gaps in care and coordination that often leave families to navigate complex and often siled systems on their own. In the most unfortunate of circumstances, these gaps and lack of coordination have led families to give up custody of their child so they can access much-needed behavioral health services.

“Eight years ago, my family was in crisis. My wife and I were forced to give up custody of our son Andrew to access the treatment needed for his extreme behavioral health needs caused by autism and several mental illnesses. My story is not unique. Ohio Parents of multisystem youth have faced similar agonizing choices for decades,” said Mark Butler, a parent and advocate. “OhioRISE represents a new day for our state; the program would have helped us access the care Andrew needed without giving up custody of our child. Tonight, one family will be spared the trauma we endured while getting the help they need.

The program includes a new network of statewide care management entities that operate under the OhioRISE plan and serve as community experts in navigating and coordinating care. OhioRISE also aims to keep more families together by creating access to new and improved evidence-based mental health services.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid worked with partner state agencies to identify eligible youth to start immediately in OhioRISE. Proactively enrolled children and youth include those currently in the care of a child services agency who are receiving intensive residential treatment and youth who have recently been admitted for hospital care.

OhioRISE is expected to grow and expand access to care in its first year. By the end of the first year, Ohio Medicaid plans to enroll up to 50,000 children and youth with new specialized services and supports. Ohio Medicaid will work closely with Aetna Better Health of Ohio to continually improve the program to ensure that children and families in Ohio receive quality care that leads to fulfilling lives.

OhioRISE is a cornerstone of Governor DeWine’s Children’s Initiative and is governed by the Ohio Department of Medicaid and Governor DeWine’s Cabinet Council for Family and Children First. Families interested in learning more about eligibility should contact the Aetna OhioRISE Member Hotline at 833-711-0773.

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