Friday Five: States with Medicaid waivers can fund mental health, substance abuse, and supportive housing services

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November 16, 2018

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about Medicaid funding for mental health treatment and supportive housing, changes to network adequacy standards, the impact of the midterm election on healthcare, and how SNAP benefits veterans.

1. CMS announces new Medicaid demonstration opportunity to expand mental health treatment services

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new opportunity to help the estimated 45% of adults with mental issues that don’t currently receive treatment. States can apply for an 1115 waiver that would allow them to use Medicaid funding to provide short-term mental health residential treatment. The waiver could be particular helpful to states who are also testing residential treatment for substance abuse disorders, including opioid use disorder.

2. A ‘game-changer?’ Proposed Medicaid benefit would cover housing services    

Virginia’s pending 1115 Medicaid waiver request includes both the addition of Medicaid work requirements and reimbursement for supportive housing. According to the Virginia Mercury, the waiver could take up to a year to be approved. Housing support services help keep residents in stable housing but do not pay rent or construction costs. Virginia’s version would have an enrollment cap and would roll out by region. 

3. Medicaid managed care proposal would tweak network adequacy standards 

CMS is proposing changes to Medicaid and CHIP that would allow states to measure network adequacy by factors other than time and distance. As reported by Healthcare Dive, this change is intended to take into account changes to the healthcare landscape, such as telehealth services, and reduce administrative costs.

4. Midterm elections place healthcare policy in spotlight 

Voters placed healthcare front and center during the recent midterm elections. A blog published by Holland & Knight, breaks down key takeaways and the implications for the future, including likely legislative action and Medicaid expansion.

5. SNAP helps veterans makes ends meet 

Nearly 1.4 million veterans nationwide receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. A guest columnist for the Anadalusia Star-News argues that the Senate version of the Farm Bill would strengthen core SNAP assistance and would make needed investments in employment and training services for SNAP participants who face additional barriers to work. Veterans may struggle when re-entering the civilian workforce and the proposed SNAP work requirements could conflict with employment programs offered by the Veterans Administration.


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