What is Braided Funding?

Braided funding is a term being tossed around at many state and local level meetings. There have been multiple interpretations/definitions of exactly what the word means.

This is an opportunity to share what the region views as braiding. Most of you know that it is illegal for the region to supplement Medicaid. That means if your agency was receiving a U-9 tier and it is dropped to a U-7, the region cannot supplement Medicaid to raise the tier back to the higher level.

The region defined braided funding by taking cues from Medicaid policy. By defining braided funding Medicaid recognizes that there are needed supports, often defined as social determinants that are not necessarily Medicaid funded but are integral to the recovery of people with behavioral health needs.  Examples could be housing assistance, healthy food assistance, heat, transportation, childcare and exercise. In some cases the region may provide additional funding. In other cases the region may participate in a group to coordinate additional funding sources or to help identify existing resources.  There is emphasis on cross system collaboration. If you participated in any of the SF 504 groups, you saw some of the power of cross system collaboration.

Iowa is in the infancy of braided funding opportunities. For people to really profit from this approach, it will be important to develop evidence based practices, to gain experience in meaningful data collection and to make cross collaboration an ongoing practice.

As a result of the SF 504 legislation, there has been a renewed emphasis on lining up our efforts with those of public health departments, United Way, law enforcement , corrections, crisis services and substance abuse funding as well as Medicaid funding. You can expect these efforts to continue as we strive to gain as much momentum as we can from coordinating our efforts with the larger system.

– Mechelle Dhondt, CEO