What They’re Watching: Barsam Kasravi, Anthem Blue Cross

Barsam Kasravi is the CA Medicaid Plan President at Anthem Blue Cross. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss secure food and housing.

“With the new expectations in Medi-Cal from the state and the governor, you know, we really need to partner with our providers more effectively. That means areas like quality, encounter performance, access to specialists, compliance. So, we really want to make sure we understand our providers capabilities and try to support them to make sure they’re successful. The second piece is our members and really tailoring programs to our membership, which is beyond their clinical needs, but mainly around their housing needs, food insecurity, transportation. So, really tailoring our collaboration with our membership and our providers.

You know, we’re in nine counties when it comes to our Whole Person Care and Health Homes programs, which are state-run programs. I think our focus is really going to be around navigation of housing across those counties and partnering with our local organizations to make sure we have good support when it comes to housing navigation. I think that’s a big program. And then food insecurity is a big area, you know, partnering locally with organizations to make sure that it’s not just housing, but also access to healthy food.

So, those are the two areas, but really making sure we also are in line with the Health Homes program and the Whole Person Care program and make sure we collaborate with our health plan partners as well. Medi-Cal 1.0 was really around paying providers for care and then the health plans really focusing on clinical care. As Medi-Cal has evolved, you know, the health plan’s role has changed. It’s now going into the social determinants area — looking at quality in a different way. So, I think the providers are adapting, but being in the Medi-Cal space, it’s going to be challenge and you know it is a stress to the system. So, as health plans, we need to figure out how to support our providers, but also look at different ways and different types of providers that might manage a Medi-Cal member that historically we’ve always looked to the physician for.”