On the Mental Health Awareness Day of Action, the Biden-Harris Administration took action to make it easier for schools to provide critical healthcare services, especially mental health services, for millions of students across the nation. These three significant actions support President Biden’s comprehensive national mental health strategy and deliver on his commitment to tackle the nation’s mental health crisis as part of his Unity Agenda. Through a series of new announcements from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration is continuing to take a whole-of-government approach to meet families where they are and ensure that children have access to the healthcare they need – especially mental health services.
Specifically, ED is proposing a new rule that would streamline Medicaid billing permissions for students with disabilities. ED predicts of the 500,000 new students who are found eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B each year, nearly 300,000 are likely to be eligible for Medicaid and impacted by this rule. HHS is issuing new guidance to make it easier for schools to bill Medicaid. HHS also is approving requests from New Mexico and Oregon to expand healthcare services that schools can deliver to Medicaid enrolled students.
“Students are six times more likely to access mental health when these services are offered in school, and that’s one important reason why making it easier for schools to provide healthcare is at the heart of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address the youth mental health crisis and raise the bar for learning conditions in our schools,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These new resources and proposed rules will help schools live up to the promise that all students, including those with disabilities, receive a free, appropriate public education. We need to continue breaking down barriers that have long undermined state and local efforts to provide healthcare services to students, including those covered by Medicaid. Ultimately, more children and youth will gain access to the physical and mental health services they need to succeed in school and in life as a result of the actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking today.”
“We are taking bold actions to strengthen school-based healthcare services through our Medicaid program so that children in every community have the support they need,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “President Biden has made clear that strengthening youth mental health is a top priority of this Administration. We are working across the federal government, as well as with all states, territories and tribes, to meet families where they are and provide students with the services and support they need to be healthy and thrive.”