246192 Medicaid policy: Improving comprehensive well-child care

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:59 AM

Catherine Finley , Capitol Counsel, Washington, DC
The Medicaid Early and Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit has long provided for an assessment of both general and mental health at the well-child visit. Yet, few states have taken any steps to ensure that the mental health assessment component is provided, and available evidence indicates that few beneficiaries receive this service. This is despite epidemiological research showing that young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, such as those enrolled in Medicaid, are at significantly higher risk for mental illnesses. By failing to offer an evidence-based mental health assessment to these youth, Medicaid programs are missing an opportunity to improve health status and related outcomes through early identification and intervention. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is set to extend Medicaid coverage to approximately 7 to 8 million additional individuals under the age of 18 in 2014. At the same time, eligibility for Medicaid has been extended to cover adults up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, also beginning in 2014. These changes in eligibility will create a new incentive to improve prevention and early identification of chronic disease, such as depression. Beneficiaries will be eligible for public health coverage for a greater length of time, making it more likely that Medicaid programs will undertake efforts to reduce costs through an increased focus on prevention. Policy options to improve receipt of an evidence-based mental health assessment during the Medicaid well-child visit will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Medicaid benefit requiring a mental health assessment at the well-child visit. List policy options for improving receipt of this service.

Keywords: Public Policy, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Catherine Finley is a principal at Capitol Counsel and has more than 15 years of government experience, including senior-level roles in health policy in the U.S. Senate. She also serves on the National EPSDT Improvement Workgroup at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
CareSource Health Policy Consultant
TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University Health Policy Consultant

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.