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Administration Provides Flexibility for IMD Exclusion

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Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced new flexibility for states wishing to expand the limits contained in the IMD exclusion for Medicaid patients. Existing policy limited Medicaid funding for long-term mental health and substance use disorder treatment in inpatient settings. Eliminating the exclusion has been a NAATP priority.

Last year the Administration relaxed the rules to allow for 15 days in any given month. This year, Congress changed the law for the first time, to allow for 30 days of annual residential care.

States will be encouraged to use Section 115 waivers, which have previously been used to provide more flexibility for substance use disorder treatment spending. Secretary Azar will soon issue letters to state Medicaid directors outlining the new policy.

This is a positive step, which recognizes the unfair limitations imposed on patients covered by Medicaid seeking SUD treatment. NAATP will continue to work to completely eliminate this restriction.

Thanks to NAATP members who have continued to communicate with Congress and the Administration on this important topic.

Mark Dunn
NAATP Director of Public Policy
Washington, DC