Legislative Alert: Administration Provides Flexibility for IMD Exclusion

November 15, 2018

On November 13, 2018, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar gave a speech to the National Association of Medicaid Directors. In the speech, Azar stated that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is "giving states more flexibility to enact inpatient mental health treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries", and expand the limits contained in the IMD Exclusion.

As you may be aware, BHAP worked hard with our petition to Repeal the IMD Exclusion, and presented the petition to the President and the United States House of Representatives.

Azar said the IMD exclusion led to "the worst of both worlds: limited access to inpatient treatment and limited access to other options. Given the history, it is the responsibility of state and federal governments together, alongside communities and families, to right this wrong."

States will be encouraged to use Section 115 waivers, which have previously been used to provide more flexibility for substance use disorder treatment spending. Secretary Azar will soon issue letters to state Medicaid directors outlining the new policy.

"It is the responsibility of state and federal governments together, alongside communities and families, to right this wrong," Azar said. "More treatment options are needed, and that includes more inpatient and residential options that can help stabilize Americans with serious mental illness."

Thanks to BHAP members and supporters who have continued to >communicate with their representatives on this topic.

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