U.S. House approves Medicaid legislative package containing key county priorities

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On June 18, the U.S. House approved a bipartisan Medicaid legislative package extending Money Follows the Person, funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics & other programs that help counties reach residents w/complex health care needs The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate, where legislators are working to extend key Medicaid programs before funding expires on June 30, 2019

On June 18, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access and Strengthening Accountability Act (H.R. 3253), a bipartisan legislative package extending Medicaid coordinated care programs important to counties. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate, where legislators are working to approve the legislation before the programs’ current authorization expires on June 30, 2019.

If enacted, the bill would reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Medicaid demonstration for four and a half years through FY 2024 and extend the eight-state Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program for an additional two and a half years through FY 2021. The legislation also contains smaller provisions protecting against spousal impoverishment and patient neglect in the Medicaid program.

Both the MFP and the CCBHC programs help fulfill counties’ mission of providing high-quality wraparound services to residents. The MFP program, first authorized in 2005, enhances federal support for state Medicaid programs transitioning individuals in long-term care facilities back into community-based settings. Since it was first enacted, MFP has enabled 43 states and the District of Columbia to develop the infrastructure to help older adults and people with disabilities live in the settings of their choice, while achieving lower institutional admission rates and cost savings in the Medicaid program.

In addition to extending the MFP program, the bill’s two and a half year funding extension for CCBHCs will enable counties to continue providing comprehensive care to residents. In 2014, legislation known as the Excellence in Mental Health Act established CCBHCs as eligible Medicaid providers that could receive an enhanced federal Medicaid match rate for delivering mental health and substance use disorder services to patients in crisis.

NACo supports Medicaid coverage of community-based care, as well as the funding and administrative certainty provided as a result of long-term program reauthorizations.

Additional NACo resources on the Medicaid program:

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