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Health care hub for people with disabilities launches near Rochester

Prime Care Coordination, described by its executive director Tracy Boff as “an umbrella organization” for groups that aid people with disabilities, has opened its regional hub in Webster.

“This is going to coordinate all of a person’s care including their medical care, behavioral health needs, social needs, their housing — all of their needs,” Boff said.

Prime Care, a Medicaid-funded company wholly owned by non-profit agencies, has replaced the Medicaid Service Coordination program, which until July 1 handled medical and social services for people with disabilities.

Prime Care Coordination marks a change from a system that had previously been fragmented between different coordinators and offices, to one with a central person to organize a patient’s care, Boff said.

“If a medical provider is not aware of a person’s social needs, like a lack of a stable housing situation,” she said, “it is really difficult for that person to follow through with a medical plan.”

Advocates for people with disabilities said it was too early to know whether the change brings improvement.

“We are only a few days in, so we don't feel that we're at a position where we can comment yet,” said Stephanie Woodward, the director of advocacy at Rochester’s Center for Disability Rights.

Changes to the questionnaires that staff use to evaluate their clients’ needs are on the way, too, Boff said. Previous surveys asked about goals but did not often address how a person hoped to achieve them.

“Instead of keeping things really broad on employment,” Boff said of a new questionnaire, “it might get very specific on actual interests, rather than focused on the end goal of just obtaining a job.”

Prime Care retained most of the people who had previously worked as Medicaid service coordinators before July 1, Boff said, and the new organization is still growing. “We’re hiring,” she said.