CHA News Article

Senate Legislation Would Expand Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration Project

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation to extend the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration project now underway in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Initiated in 2012 under the Affordable Care Act, the demonstration was established to test whether Medicaid programs can support higher quality care at a lower total cost by reimbursing private psychiatric hospitals for services for which Medicaid reimbursement has historically been unavailable. The Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act of 2015 (S.599) would extend the demonstration until the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) submits recommendations to Congress based on the final evaluation or Sept. 30, 2016, whichever occurs first. HHS would also have the option to recommend extending the demonstration project for an additional three years and/or expanding it to include other states.