CareSource launches new division

CareSource has created a new division with a job training and placement component that has already helped the Medicaid managed care provider find jobs for a number of its members, company officials said Tuesday.

About 40 of CareSource’s Medicaid clients have been selected for interviews at Fuyao Glass America — the Chinese auto glass maker bringing hundreds of new jobs to the Dayton area.

They were selected from a group of more than 400 after completing a skills assessment at a “Job Connect” pilot program for CareSource’s new Life Services division. CareSource, downtown Dayton’s largest employer, also has begun talks with several local companies about connecting with their members, said Sam George, a senior vice president at CareSource, and interim leader of the Life Services division.

“Our plan is to continue to evolve this program over the next couple of years,” George said. “We’re pleased with the progress we’ve already made, but we’re looking to make much more progress in 2015 on both the Job Connect events and broader umbrella of Life Services.”

CareSource CEO Pam Morris was quick to point out that job placement is only one of the functions of the new unit.

“From the beginning of CareSource, we were acutely aware that our members who were living in poverty had many struggles,” Morris said. “Most were basic needs, such as food, housing, paying utilities; for others, it was having stable employment. So this program really ties back to the CareSource mission, and the consumer focus that we’ve had from the very beginning.”

Life Services is still in the early stages of development, but CareSource has already hired an executive director who will assume her responsibilities later this month, including overseeing the hiring of a dedicated staff.

Morris said it was too early to say exactly how many new people CareSource would hire to support the new division. The company already employs close to 2,000 people in downtown Dayton.

Life Services will provide support to CareSource members seeking life coaching, education, financial assistance, soft skill development — such as communication and interviewing techniques — as well as job training, among other things.

“We want to provide our members with the wrap-around services they need to move through life,” George said. “While we launched this program with interviewing skills and resume building, we have visions for Life Services to be much broader.”

The success of the program could ultimately reduce the number of CareSource members living in poverty who qualify for Medicaid, currently about 1.25 million.

But that doesn’t mean the company will necessarily lose those members as customers.

Former Medicaid recipients who are not offered work-based insurance at their new jobs would likely qualify for CareSource’s Just4Me commercial plans, which are sold through health insurance marketplaces in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky under the Affordable Care Act.

“That’s one reason that we went onto the marketplace, so that we could provide seamless health coverage for our members,” Morris said. “Ultimately, we get back to our health care roots with Life Services. So we don’t see that as problematic.”

Morris described Life Services as consolidating and formalizing support services that the company has offered on an individual basis for years, with the goal of becoming a “one-stop” shop. But she said the new division shouldn’t be confused with the Job Center or other government agencies that provide employment services.

“We have a different relationship with our members,” Morris said. “We’re not viewed as the government. Job placement is not a requirement.”

In addition, many of the CareSource members Life Services is intended to serve already have jobs, she said.

“Many are maybe employed part-time, but still qualify for (Medicaid) coverage,” Morris said. “So if we can get them a full-time job, a better job, we have accomplished our mission.”

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