Some children’s access to mental health services is being threatened
by a misinterpretation of Medicaid law, said Sen Susan Collins (R, Maine)
and Rep Henry Waxman (D, Calif) in a letter sent March 8 to the Department
of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid
At issue is a new initiative by DHHS Acting Inspector General Dan Levinson
who has audited state Medicaid programs to determine whether federal funds
had been improperly spent to care for children living in mental institutions.
According to the legislators, the matter centers on a new definition of the
“IMD exclusion,” which excludes Medicaid funding for services
provided in “institutions for mental disease.” This means federal
funds cannot be used to support the medical care of low-income children in
mental institutions, they said.
Mitka M. Children’s Mental Health. JAMA. 2005;293(14):1718. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1718-d