Medicaid Waiver to Help States Expand Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

mental health tilesHealth and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has announced that states may apply for waivers to the “IMD exclusion” law in order to expand in patient mental health treatment using Medicaid.

ABC News reports:

A longstanding federal law has barred Medicaid from paying for mental health treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds, to prevent “warehousing” of the mentally ill at the expense of federal taxpayers. Azar said states will now be able to seek waivers from that restriction, provided they can satisfy certain specific requirements.

“We have the worst of both worlds: limited access to inpatient treatment and limited access to other options,” said Azar, who stressed that inpatient care has to be combined with community-based services.

To receive the waiver states must: apply for permission from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services; show how the waiver fits into the overall continuum of mental health services being provided; and demonstrate that the waiver will not lead to an increase in federal costs.

Read the full ABC News article to learn more.

Challenges with the delivery of mental health and substance abuse treatment will be discussed at the MACo Winter Conference session, “Who’s Falling Through the Cracks? Addressing Gaps in Behavioral Health Treatment.”

The MACo Winter Conference will be held January 2-4, 2019 at the Hyatt in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s theme is, “Charting the Course.”

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

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