July 11, 2014 – The New York Times, yesterday, published an article on how a decades old provision in Medicaid law is limiting the Affordable Care Act’s promise of expanded access to needed substance use disorder services. The provision, known as the institutions for mental disease (IMD) exclusion, prohibits Medicaid payment for service provided in residential treatment facilities that are larger than 16 beds. Legal Action Center’s Director and President, Paul N. Samuels, is quoted in the story discussing how the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion may result in cuts to the state safety-net funding that has helped to pay for these services in the past. At the same time, if unaddressed, the exclusion would continue to prohibit Medicaid from financing residential treatment in most facilities. As a result, fewer sources of payment for residential services would be available than before the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
Eliminating the barrier to treatment created by the IMD exclusion has long been a high priority for the Legal Action Center. The Legal Action Center will continue to try to draw attention to this discriminatory policy. We will work with Congress and the administration to change the IMD exclusion to improve access to needed substance use disorder services for Medicaid beneficiaries across the country.