Thursday, September 20, 2007

Medicaid Changes Could Cripple Community Mental Health

Just received this email alert from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Comments Needed on Revised Medicaid Rules
Changes Could Cripple Community Mental Health

August 20, 2007--Changes in the rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to govern Medicaid’s rehabilitation service category could restrict access to intensive community mental health services needed by children and adults with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare. (See the Bazelon Center’s August 16th Information Alert.) The proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register on August 13, 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 155, 45201-45213).

As the single most significant source of financing for the public mental health system, Medicaid provides needed access to community-based care through the rehabilitative services option to help children and adults avoid institutionalization. The new rules could also have a profound effect on Medicaid services needed by other vulnerable populations, including people with physical and developmental disabilities.
Stakeholders’ Comments Can Make a Difference

If final regulations as later promulgated include many of the proposed changes, they will have a devastating affect on the availability of vital services, potentially crippling the community mental health service delivery system. A high volume of comments is often influential, so it is vital that CMS hear from large numbers of consumers, advocates, providers and other stakeholders about the threats posed by the proposed rules.
What You Can Do
Send your comments to CMS by the October 12, 2007 deadline. This is a critical opportunity to call upon CMS to make changes in a number of key areas and to influence the final rules. All public comments will be considered.

See sample comments and details on how to submit yours in the full text of this Action Alert at