Thursday, March 08, 2007

Feds address Medicaid discrimination?

Congress is finally taking a look at the discriminatory Medicaid IMD exclusion.

When initially enacting Medicaid, the federal government specifically excluded payments for patients in state psychiatric hospitals and other "institutions for mental diseases," or IMDs, to accomplish two goals: fostering deinstitutionalization; and shifting the costs back to the states, which were viewed by the federal government as traditionally responsible for such care.

States proceeded to transfer massive numbers of patients from state hospitals to nursing homes and the community where Medicaid reimbursement was available. This resulted in a massive transinstitutionalization of people who needed inpatient care to facilities ill-equipped to fully help them.

TAC has long advocated for repeal of this discriminatory provision. We urge you to contact your representatives and call for passage of HR 1155.

From a NAMI email alert:

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D - Texas) has introduced a bill, HR 1155, to repeal the current prohibition on the use of Federal Medicaid dollars to pay for services for individuals between the ages of 22 and 64 in private and public inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities. If enacted, HR 1155 would be extremely helpful both in addressing the ongoing crisis in inpatient services for people with severe mental illness and potentially expanding the availability of community-based services for these individuals. HR 1155 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. Your Representative sits on this Committee. We urge you to write to your Representative and urge his/her support by co-sponsoring HR 1155.

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