The Importance of Medicaid Home Visiting

Home visiting programs, when skilled professionals like nurses and social workers provide support to families in their own homes, are proven to work. They strengthen parenting skills, reduce poverty and child maltreatment, and help reduce the negative long-term consequences of adverse childhood childhood experiences. They also reduce health care costs to the state and increase family self-sufficiency.

In New Hampshire, we are struggling from multiple crises impacting the health and wellness of our children, like substance misuse, mental health concerns, and child abuse and neglect. These situations, which cause toxic stress in kids, can have long-term, negative health and wellness consequences. Home visiting helps reduce negative impacts and set children, and our state, up for success.

Unfortunately, not all NH families who need it have access to home visiting. Medicaid Home Visiting is one of many home visiting programs available that is not being fully-utilized to help NH kids and families.

SB 274 removes restrictions on NH’s Medicaid Home Visiting program to make home visiting services available to all Medicaid eligible families.

Talking Points on SB 274

  • SB 274 will give NH children access to the services they need to grow up strong and well-supported and strengthen New Hampshire families.
     
  • Medicaid Home Visiting is one of many home visiting programs available that is not being fully-utilized to help NH kids and families. Currently, Medicaid Home Visiting can only be used by first time moms under age 21, and children must be enrolled during the first two weeks after birth. SB 274 will remove these burdensome restrictions to make the program available to all Medicaid-eligible families.
     
  • The bill will restore the home visiting program to what it was prior to 2012.
     
  • NH home visiting programs only serve up to 1,100 children & families each year. Up to 9,200 families could benefit. Current levels of support for home visiting are not enough to reach all children who need it.[1]
     
  • Babies born drug-exposed can particularly benefit from home visiting. In part due to our opiate epidemic, in 2015, 269 NH babies were born drug-exposed – up from just 52 in 2005. Expanding access to Medicaid Home Visiting can help those children and families get the services they need to be healthy.[2]
     
  • In 2016, there were 11,197 child abuse and neglect reports assessed by NH DCYF, a 21 percent increase from 9,248 in 2013. Home visiting has been shown to improve children’s long-term success in life, strengthen families, prevent child maltreatment, and could help to lower this number.[3]
     
  • Investing in early childhood supports, like home visiting, will have a return on investment for our state. The rate of return on investment for quality, birth-to-five, early childhood development programs is 13%.[4

Click here to download the talking points.


[1] Karoly, Lynn A., Advancing Investments in the Early Years: Opportunities for Strategic Investments in Evidence-Based Early Childhood Programs in New Hampshire. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2019. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2955.html.

[2] Smith, Kristin, “As Opioid Use Climbs, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Rises in New Hampshire” (2017). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars’ Repository. 331. https://scholars.unh.edu/carsey/331

[3] Smith, Kristin, “Parental Substance Use in New Hampshire: Who Cares for the Children?” (2018). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars’ Repository. 342. https://scholars.unh.edu/carsey/342

[4] Heckman, James. “Quantifying the Life-Cycle Benefits of a Prototypical Early Childhood Program.” The Heckman Equation, 5 Dec. 2017, heckmanequation.org/resource/lifecycle-benefits-influential-early-childhood-program/.