California CARE Court: Simplifying the Complex. Serving the Most Vulnerable.
California CARE Court: Simplifying the Complex. Serving the Most Vulnerable.
By AJ Peterson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, CareGuidance

Recently, we’ve been talking about enhancements to Medi-Cal––and how they’ll affect you as a provider. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into one new program, Community Assistance Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court.
CARE Court is designed for individuals living with untreated complex mental health and substance use disorders. If successful, CARE Court will channel them off the streets and away from addiction, toward the care they need. Read more to learn what this means for your organization, and what you can do to help Californians in need.
Why CARE Court?
As you know, many Californians today are unhoused or struggling with substance use disorder. Often, the root cause is untreated mental illness. The CARE Court program aims to provide behavioral health support and services for the most vulnerable. And it’s important that we treat them in community-based care settings, rather than diverting them to jails, emergency rooms, inpatient psychiatric facilities, or simply allowing them to sleep on the streets.
How CARE Court Works
Anyone can file a CARE Act petition requesting help for another individual––family members, roommates, clinicians and more. If you file a petition, it will be reviewed by the county to determine whether the individual qualifies for CARE Court. Note that participation in the CARE program is voluntary, and qualified individuals are not required to accept treatment. But if they do, they’ll receive:
·       A tailored service plan created by a clinician.
·       Up to twelve months of free services, which can include medication, housing, addiction treatment and legal representation.
·       Plans can be extended an additional year under certain circumstances. 
What Does This Mean for my Organization?
To successfully execute CARE Court, providers across California will need to work together. Chances are good that you’ll receive a referral from another provider––or the county. It’s important to have all related documents in working order, to prevent referral gaps.
As you’re providing care, you’ll also need to share records easily with other clinicians. If possible, you’ll want to see every individual’s records in real-time, for a whole-person view. Because these can be highly complex cases, you may need to exchange data with everyone from the Department of Social Services to law offices to other human services providers. And since all of this needs to be done with legal compliance, it makes the most sense to use electronic health records (EHRs) and care management solutions, rather than relying on faxes. 
It's Easier Than You Think
The good news is that technology solutions exist that can help you securely exchange records, see all of an individual’s treatment in one view, and create real-time reporting with metrics that matter. Believe it or not, you can even automate caseloads and tasks, as well as automating workflows.
Healthcare is changing, and California has always led the way with innovative programs like CARE Court and other initiatives to continue improving Medi-Cal. With the right technology solutions and services, we can come together and improve care outcomes for California’s at-risk populations.

Netsmart supports California programs including CalAIM, Enhanced Care Management (ECM), Community Supports and CARE Court. Click this link to discover how we can help your organization succeed. 

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