Passport Health Plan Supports Foster Care Children and Their Families

Passport logoIt’s well documented that children in foster care are high utilizers of a variety of health-related services, and that foster care alumni have poorer long-term outcomes compared to their peers. That’s one reason why Passport Health Plan launched a pilot program in March 2015 to turn around negative outcomes for this population.

As documented in an article on the national website of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Passport got things started by partnering with three state agencies – the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS), the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID). Together we created a pilot program that would use the wraparound process (an intensive, individualized care management process for youths with serious or complex needs in which various individuals from various areas come together to help care for the youths) to provide intensive home- and community-based interventions to foster care children and their families. Children admitted to the program are at risk of being moved from their foster home due to behavioral health needs.

Passport entered into agreements with two providers, ResCare and Seven Counties Services (now Centerstone of Kentucky), to act as Intensive Care Management Organizations (ICMOs). The ICMO assigns each family an Intensive Care Coordinator, who facilitates the Child and Family Team and assists the team in developing and carrying out a coordinated care plan specific to the needs of the child and family. Each family also gets assigned an Intensive Home-Based Therapist. Therapy can be discontinued at any point after the initial assessment period.

As of Nov. 10, 2016, 55 youth have participated in the program and there’s been statistically significant improvement in functioning during participation. Passport monitors for signs of stability post-discharge (such as reduced cost of behavioral health utilization, reduced number of foster home placements, etc.), and has already seen how the program has been quite successful for some families.

To read more, please click here.


Passport aims to improve behavioral health among Kentucky’s Medicaid population

Passport logoApproximately 147,000 adults in Kentucky live with severe mental illness, many of whom are Medicaid beneficiaries. That’s why Passport is taking steps to ensure that some of the state’s most vulnerable residents have access to behavioral health services while reducing the financial cost for taxpayers.

“Behavioral health – which includes mental health and substance use disorders – is just as important as physical health,” said Elizabeth W. McKune, Ed.D., Passport’s Director of Behavioral Health. “Poor behavioral health is often the result of poor physical health, and vice versa. Medicaid patients across Kentucky must have access to quality behavioral health care in order to improve overall health outcomes and control health care costs.”

Passport’s statewide provider network includes more than 2,100 behavioral health specialists (as of June 13, 2016) who are committed to delivering timely, high-quality, clinically appropriate behavioral health services to Medicaid patients. Behavioral health providers have access to online and in-person resources and training seminars to help improve the delivery of care.

Passport also offers a behavioral health hotline, available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, to assist members in crisis and emergency situations, help them find local behavioral health providers, and get them connected to additional services or resources they may need. Other behavioral health services available for Passport’s members include medication management, substance use disorder treatment, outpatient services such as counseling, and even inpatient treatment when providers and patients feel that outpatient treatment is insufficient.

“From providers and insurers to patients and nonprofits, many in the Commonwealth have a vested interest in improving health, including behavioral health,” said Dr. McKune. “This is a statewide effort that requires all hands on deck.”

To read more, please click here.


Passport Health Plan receives prestigious national award from American Psychological Association for promoting employee well-being and performance

APA logoIn recognition of our efforts to create a healthy, high-performing work environment, Passport Health Plan has received the 2016 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award from the American Psychological Association (APA).

One of just six U.S. employers to receive the award, Passport won in the medium not-for-profit category. Passport previously won the Kentucky Psychological Association’s state-level Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, qualifying us to be nominated for the national APA award. The official recognition will take place at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27.

Passport excelled in our efforts to foster employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance, and employee recognition, according to the APA. Passport’s comprehensive wellness program, behavioral health services, team-building and education, and kudos peer-to-peer recognition program are several examples of the workplace practices that helped us earn the 2016 award.

Passport’s psychologically healthy workplace practices have reaped rewards for both the organization and our employees. Since embarking on the “Cultural Change” program, Passport has enjoyed higher staff job satisfaction and increased productivity. Moreover, looking to promote from within, Passport has had 76 internal promotions within the last two years.

“The culture at Passport has always been one of our strongest attributes, along with our compassion, our dedication, and our commitment to quality healthcare,” said Passport Health Plan CEO Mark B. Carter. “Over the past several years, we’ve all been working very hard to improve our culture from top to bottom. I believe this award is a testament to the success we have achieved and that will continue as we grow and evolve as a team. All of us at Passport are proud and honored to be recognized by the American Psychological Association for all of this hard work.”

The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. For more information about the APA, please click here.

To read the full press release about this award, please click here.


Carter County officials talk about need for suicide prevention during recent workshop

suicide prevention life line logoKentucky is one of the top 20 states for suicide, with nearly 700 Kentuckians taking their own lives each year, according to the latest confirmed figures available.

However, suicide is often considered a taboo subject, rarely addressed publicly by elected officials, other community leaders and the news media.

That changed recently in Carter County, when Sheriff Jeff May and state Rep. Jill York of Grayson collaborated with County Judge-Executive Mike Malone for a recent suicide-prevention workshop.

Rep. York told Kentucky Health News that officials need “to step forward and be able to pull the resources together and throw the push behind it … to say, we’re going to talk about this even if it’s uncomfortable because it’s important, because we’ve got lives we’ve got to save. Stop being polite, stop letting it be something that we don’t talk about. To say, if we are losing one person in our community to this, then that is too many.”

The workshop was led by local experts on mental health from nearby universities, Pathways Inc., and the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group.

For 24/7 assistance and information about local resources or clinicians equipped to deal with suicidal patients, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). To contact the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, call (859) 429-1930 or email More information is also available on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Suicide Prevention Program website by clicking here.


About 3 Million Uninsured Adults Have a Behavioral Health Condition, New Government Report Says

HiResAccording to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), about 3 million low-income, uninsured adults have a behavioral health condition, including serious mental illness, a substance use condition or both.

That number was divided evenly between states that did and did not expand their Medicaid programs.

The auditors said that the non-expansion states it studied offer treatment services for low-income uninsured people – though the programs prioritize care for people with the most serious illnesses. State officials in the Medicaid expansion states that GAO analyzed said they experienced an increase in availability of behavioral health treatment, though “some access concerns remain.”

The full report is available online here.


Passport Participating in ‘Zero Suicide’ Initiative to Help Train Providers and Advocates

suicideOver the years, there have been all kinds of initiatives to make roads safer – such as seatbelts, speed limits, and air bags, to name a few. We even have electronic signs now over interstates and next to roadways to alert drivers to dangers. However, did you know that since 2008, more people have died in Kentucky each year by suicide than from automobile accidents?

Our society recognized that the number of individuals killed in automobiles was unacceptable and took steps to reduce that number dramatically. Now, a new movement has taken hold to address another public safety issue in a dramatic way. Suicide is a public health issue that has been growing way too fast. We at Passport wanted to pass along information about the “Zero Suicide” initiative, which has a bold goal for both physical and behavioral health care providers to reduce the number of deaths by suicide to zero.

In 2013, Kentucky passed a law requiring mandatory training requirements for social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, fee-based pastoral counselors, alcohol and drug counselors, psychologists, and occupational therapists in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. But suicide prevention is not just the job of behavioral health providers. More than half of people who died by suicide saw their general practitioner in the month before their death, and more than 10% were seen in an emergency department within the 60 days before their death.

The goal of this initiative is to make suicide an event that an individual and their friends and family NEVER have to experience again.

To learn more about how healthcare providers and advocates can take part in making this goal reality, go online to

To read a pamphlet of important information that you can use if your teen is thinking of suicide, please click here.