WHATCOM ­— As of July 1, Washington’s Medicaid system, or Apple Health, began transitioning to an integrated managed healthcare delivery in the county. This is part of a statewide shift in healthcare delivery that will be available across all Washington regions by January 1, 2020.
 
In the past, Apple Health patients had access to managed-care services providing traditional preventive, primary, specialty and other physical health services. Now Apple Health patients will still get the same benefits as before, but services will be coordinated through a single health plan so that people receive the help they need, including mental health and substance use treatment.
  
In the past, it meant that if a primary care provider was working to address a health issue but didn’t understand that the patient had a substance use disorder, the treatment might end because the full picture was not seen, says a spokeswoman for Community Health Plan of Washington. Now it is all integrated.
  
Each managed care plan will now be responsible for both the medical and behavioral health needs of individuals, leading to more integrated care and better outcomes.
  
Community Health Plan of Washington is one of four available health plans in Whatcom County.
  
Still questions? Contact Community Health Plan of Washington at 1-866-418-1009  Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.