States may now broaden mental health treatment under Medicaid

Close up of a male doctor holding an application form while consulting patient

(CNN)The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may now allow for states to pursue Medicaid reimbursements for short-term inpatient treatment in mental health facilities despite a decades-old exclusion, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday.

In a letter to state Medicaid directors, CMS detailed a new Medicaid waiver opportunity through which states may bypass longstanding reimbursement restrictions on inpatient psychiatric treatment, which apply to mental health facilities with more than 16 beds. Azar said the original policy has posed a "significant barrier" to people getting the treatments they need.
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