Due to Widespread Community Transmission of COVID-19, DHSS Ending All Walk-in Access to Public Offices

Customer Service Needs to Be Met by Appointment, Phone, Email or Online; Crisis Services Continue

NEW CASTLE (April 5, 2020) – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is announcing that all walk-in access to its public offices will end beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020, because of the potential risk for clients and DHSS employees in having in-person interactions. Client needs will now be met in person by appointment only, or through phone, email or online interactions, except for crisis services, emergency cases, or for people without phone or computer access.

“To keep both our clients and our employees safe, this is the right move for our department and for the clients we are committed to serving every day,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “With widespread community transmission in Delaware, it is a public health risk to have our usual in-person interaction. Our offices will have signs on the doors to explain how staff can be reached if clients have an emergency, or for those who don’t have immediate access to a phone or computer.”

Outreach efforts across DHSS, such as the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Mobile Crisis Services, the Division of Social Services’ Community Partner Support Unit and the Office of Animal Welfare’s animal control services are continuing. Appointments through DSAMH already scheduled are still expected to occur through telehealth or in person as needed. Admissions and discharges to DHSS’ 24/7 facilities also will continue as needed.

To screen or apply for many DHSS services, Delawareans are encouraged to use DHSS’ online portal, ASSIST. Seniors and individuals with disabilities can also visit the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource’s website or call 1-800-223-9074. For other services (by division), here is how clients and potential clients can make inquiries:

Division of Social Services (Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, General Assistance, Purchase of Care subsidized child care)

  • Screen for and apply for benefits: ASSIST website, call 1-866-843-7212 or your local office
  • State Service Center Customer service (issues with existing benefits): 1-866-843-7212
  • To make an appointment: Call your local State Service Center

Division of Child Support Services

  • Customer service or to make an appointment: 302-577-7171
  • More Information: https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dcss/

Division of State Service Centers

  • For emergency service assistance or to make an appointment: 1-866-843-7212 or your local State Service Center

Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance

  • Screen for and apply for benefits: ASSIST https://dhss.delaware.gov; or 1-800-372-2022 to make an appointment
  • Health Benefit Manager: 1-800-996-9969
  • Managed Care Member Service Highmark Health Options: 1-844-325-6251
  • AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware: 1-844-211-0966
  • Long-Term Care Medicaid: apply using ASSIST https://dhss.delaware.gov or 1-866-940-8963

Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (crisis, emotional support, services)

  • Appointments: HelpIsHereDE.com or 1-800-652-2929
  • Customer service (issues with existing services): 1-855-649-7944; admissions and payments: 302-255-9458

Division of Developmental Disabilities Services

  • Apply for services or to make an appointment: 302-744-9700 or 1-866-552-5758, Option 2
  • Eligibility appeals: 302-744-9628
  • Customer service (issues with existing benefits): Call your case manager

Division for Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities

  • For all questions, referrals, and access to your existing case manager: Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center http://delawareadrc.com/ or call 1-800-223-9074

Division of Public Health (Women, Infants, and Children – WIC, immunizations, HIV/AIDS, TB, Health Care Connection, Office of Animal Welfare, etc.)

  • Apply for or seek services: Call your local Division of Public Health office
  • To make an appointment: Call your local Division of Public Health office
  • Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Services (animal-related concerns): 302-255-4646

Division for the Visually Impaired

  • Apply for services, make an appointment or customer service: 302-255-9800 or your case manager

Division of Health Care Quality

  • Office of Health Facilities Licensing: Hotline:1-800-942-7373; office: 302-292-393
  • Office of Long-Term Care Resident’s Protection: Hotline:1-877-453-0012; Background Check Center: 302-421-7405; CNA Registry: 302-421-7403
  • Division of Health Care Quality Customer Service: 302-421-7400

DHSS Constituent Relations

  • If you have trouble reaching any division or have an issue with your benefits or services being delayed or denied, please reach out to our Constituent Services: dhssinfo@delaware.gov

Also starting Monday, the Department of Health and Social Services and the Division of Public Health will begin a new collaboration with the United Way of Delaware to better triage incoming calls related to COVID-19. Anyone with a question about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, 1-800-560-3372, 7-1-1 for individuals with a hearing impairment, or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Delaware 2-1-1 has increased its hours, added operators, and now is available seven days a week to serve Delawareans. For the latest coronavirus updates in Delaware, go to: de.gov/coronavirus


Governor Carney Announces Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR) Public Meetings

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Friday announced the State of Delaware will host Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR) public meetings in each county as part of an ongoing review of state regulations. Governor Carney and members of his cabinet will host the meetings, and accept public comment on ways to improve state government and the delivery of state services.

The Delaware Departments of Labor; Health and Social Services; Education; Natural Resources and Environmental Control; and Transportation will be among the agencies participating. State of Delaware constituent relations staff also will be available to assist Delawareans with questions or concerns. 

“Since taking office, I have talked to Delawareans about our commitment to operating our state government as efficiently and effectively as possible – so we can focus on investing taxpayer dollars where they are needed most,” said Governor Carney. “These GEAR public meetings are another chance for us to hear directly from Delawareans on how we can improve our state government – and strengthen our work around education, public health, workforce training, and social service delivery. Members of our GEAR team have done important work to identify statewide improvements, and we are going on the road to hear directly from Delawareans about their priorities.”

Governor Carney established GEAR by Executive Order in February 2017 to identify ways for state government to operate more efficiently, and improve the delivery of state services for Delaware families.

A review of state regulations is required every four years by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The following executive branch agencies of the State of Delaware are accepting public comments: 

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Health and Social Services
  • Department of Human Resources
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
  • Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Office of Management and Budget

Members of the public who would like to provide comments regarding state rules and regulations can submit comments online, by email, or by mail:

                       GEAR – Attn: James Myran
                       Carvel State Office Building
                       820 North French Street, 8th Floor, Office 813
                       Wilmington, Delaware 19801

 

Kent County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Trey Paradee

                        State Representative Bill Bush

                        State Representative Lyndon Yearick

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Thursday, March 19, 2020

                        6:00 p.m.

WHERE:        Wilmington University, Dover Campus

                        Building A Auditorium

                        3282 N DuPont Highway

                        Dover, DE 19901

 

 

Sussex County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Brian Pettyjohn

                        State Senator David Wilson

                        State Senator Gerald Hocker

                        State Representative Ruth Briggs King

                        State Representative Daniel Short

                        State Representative Ronald Gray

                        State Representative Tim Dukes

                        State Representative Stephen Smyk

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Tuesday, March 24, 2020

                        6:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Delaware Technical & Community College

                        Owens Campus – Arts and Science Center Theater

                        21179 College Drive

                        Georgetown, DE 19947

 

 

New Castle County – GEAR Town Hall

WHAT:          Governor John Carney and state agencies will host a GEAR Town Hall to accept public comment on which state regulations should be modified or eliminated.

WHO:             Governor John Carney

                        Secretary Rick Geisenberger, Delaware Department of Finance

                        James Myran, Executive Director, Government Efficiency & Accountability Review (GEAR)

                        Members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet

                        State Senator Darius Brown

                        State Representative Kendra Johnson

                        Representatives from State of Delaware Agencies

WHEN:          Monday, March 30, 2020

                        6:00 p.m.

WHERE:       Route 9 Library & Innovation Center

                        Black Box Theater and Multipurpose Room A

                        3022 New Castle Avenue

                        New Caste, DE 19720

 

 

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Health Insurance Marketplace Kickoff Press Conference

WHAT:           Governor John Carney and DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker will be joined by Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, Westside Family Healthcare President/CEO Lolita Lopez and others for a kickoff event for the fifth year of Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace. The press conference also will feature an enrollee on Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Open enrollment, through HealthCare.gov, begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. About 27,000 Delawareans are getting health insurance through the marketplace in 2017, with about 80 percent receiving financial assistance to help pay their monthly premiums. Individuals who don’t enroll may face a $695 penalty per adult ($347.50 for each child younger than 18) or 2.5 percent of their annual household income, whichever is higher. Navigators, assisters, and insurance agents and brokers are all authorized to assist with enrollments at no cost. For more information on Delaware’s marketplace, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com.

 

WHEN:          2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1

 

WHERE:        Westside Family Healthcare’s Northeast Health Center, 908-B E. 16th St., Wilmington

 

WHO:            Governor John Carney

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro
DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker

Westside Family Healthcare President/CEO Lolita Lopez

Maria Cabrera, federal navigator with Chatman LLC

Enrollee on Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace

 

DETAILS:     For more on Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com. To compare plans now and to enroll starting Nov. 1, go to HealthCare.gov.

 

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

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DHSS Seeks Public Comment by Nov. 13 on Health Care Spending Benchmark Draft Plan

NEW CASTLE (Oct. 25, 2017) – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services continues its work to adopt value-based payment reform strategies as part of the effort to establish a health care spending benchmark for the state and recently published a draft plan.

Public comment is currently being sought on the plan, “Delaware’s Road to Value,” which outlines changes in policy and legislation to transform the delivery of health care and improve outcomes for Delawareans, while lowering the growth rate of health care spending.

The plan is posted on the DHSS website here: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhcc/files/roadmapmerged.pdf.

Public comments can be emailed to OurHealthDE@delaware.gov. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 13.

“It’s important to hear from Delawareans about our draft plan for the health care spending benchmark,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “Think of the benchmark as a target for all of the health care spending in Delaware in any given year. I want to hear from people – consumers, providers, employers, nonprofit leaders and other stakeholders – about how we can best set and meet that target while providing consumers with care that improves their outcomes.”

Governor John Carney signed House Joint Resolution 7 in September, which authorized DHSS to develop a health care spending benchmark that is linked to the state’s rate of economic growth. In a federal analysis released this summer, Delaware had the third-highest per capita spending for health care in the country, behind only Alaska and Massachusetts. In 2014, Delaware’s per-capita rate of $10,254 was 27 percent higher than the U.S. average. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that if Delaware continues at that pace, total health care spending in the state will more than double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025. In terms of overall health, Delaware ranks only 31st among the states, according to America’s Health Rankings.

 

The benchmark will serve as a major step in transforming Delaware’s health care system to a more outcome-driven system and away from a system that pays for care based solely on the number of room days, visits, procedures and tests. The benchmark also will position Delaware to move toward innovative payment reform strategies, address issues in access to care, and quality improvement.

 

 

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.


DHSS Awards Contract to Health Management Associates to Help Delaware Pursue Health Innovation

NEW CASTLE (Oct. 26, 2017) – The Delaware Health Care Commission has awarded a contract to Health Management Associates to provide specialized expertise to advance efforts by the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to transform the delivery of health care and improve health outcomes in Delaware, while lowering the growth rate of health care costs.

 

The $1.298 million contract will support the state’s efforts in two important areas:

  • The integration of behavioral health services into primary care settings to improve access for Delawareans in need of mental health and substance use disorder services;
  • Support of the Healthy Neighborhoods initiative to bring people and organizations together at the local and community level to identify needs, connect to resources, and develop locally tailored solutions to improve population health.

These two programs were developed and funded under a four-year federal grant totaling up to $35 million and awarded to Delaware in 2014 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). State grantees are required to undertake comprehensive strategies and test models to transform the state’s health care delivery system while putting health care costs on a more sustainable path for employers, consumers, and public budgets. The Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI), which was created to carry out the CMMI grant work with stakeholders across the state, embraced both the integration of behavioral health services into primary care and support of the Healthy Neighborhoods initiative. Health Management Associates will build on DCHI’s foundation by collaborating with the public-private organization to create long-term transformation.

 

“Health Management Associates has an experienced team of people who will be able to offer us expert advice and guidance as we work to accelerate health care payment reform in Delaware,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “HMA understands the challenges we face as we seek to accomplish our goal of reaching better health outcomes for Delawareans while also changing the way we pay for health care.”

 

Governor John Carney signed House Joint Resolution 7 in September, which authorized DHSS to develop a health care spending benchmark that is linked to the state’s rate of economic growth.

 

In a federal analysis released this summer, Delaware had the third-highest per capita spending for health care in the country, behind only Alaska and Massachusetts. In 2014, Delaware’s per-capita rate of $10,254 was 27 percent higher than the U.S. average. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that if Delaware continues at that pace, total health care spending in the state will more than double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025. In terms of overall health, Delaware ranks only 31st among the states, according to America’s Health Rankings.

 

The contract with Health Management Associates also includes project management support to the Delaware Health Care Commission as it plans for the fourth and final year of the federal grant.

 

 

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.