Calif. To Receive Funds for Medicaid Mental Health Pilot Program
On Tuesday, CMS awarded $75 million in funding to California and 10 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, for a demonstration program that will expand access to emergency psychiatric care, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/13).
The three-year Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration -- which was authorized by the federal health reform law -- aims to determine whether extending Medicaid reimbursement to private psychiatric hospitals will help states reduce costs and improve care quality for patients with mental illnesses (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 3/13).
Federal law historically has barred Medicaid from covering inpatient psychiatric hospital services for beneficiaries ages 21 to 64, leading many patients to seek care at hospital emergency departments that may not be able to match their needs.
CMS acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said the current system "may not be an efficient use of health care dollars, and may be detrimental to vulnerable patients -- especially when they could immediately be treated in the setting with more appropriate care."She noted, "This new demonstration will help ensure patients receive appropriate, high quality care when they need it most and save states money" (CMS release, 3/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.