CHA News Article

Congress Passes Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act

Congress recently passed the Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act (S. 599), which would extend the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration Program through September 2016, as long as it does not increase Medicaid spending, and would expand the program to public facilities. The program allows eligible states, including California, to pay certain institutions for mental disease for emergency psychiatric care provided to Medicaid enrollees aged 21 to 64. The bill also allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to extend the program for three more years and to more states, subject to the same budget-neutrality standard, and requires HHS to recommend by April 2019 whether to make the program permanent. The bill is supported by CHA.