The Senate Finance Committee yesterday amended its version of health reform legislation to partially roll back current Medicaid policy prohibiting reimbursement to inpatient facilities known as institutes of mental disease (IMD).
The amendment, filed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), provides $75 million for three-year demonstration projects in up to eight states that would allow federal Medicaid matching payments for emergency psychiatric treatment in psychiatric hospitals that provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 21 and 64. Currently, psychiatric hospitals are required to provide these emergency services under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, but they cannot receive federal matching payments because of the rules prohibiting IMDs from receiving federal Medicaid reimbursement.
Only non-publicly owned and operated psychiatric hospitals would be eligible to participate in the demonstration projects. The services eligible for federal payments under the demonstration projects are limited to emergency psychiatric treatment and stabilization.
The intent of the demonstration projects, as described by the Finance Committee, is to “demonstrate that covering patients in these hospitals will improve timely access to emergency psychiatric care, reduce the burden on overcrowded emergency rooms, and improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of inpatient psychiatric care.” A similar demonstration project was included in the House version of health reform legislation.
A description of all of yesterday’s changes to the Senate Finance bill is available on the Senate Finance Committee website.