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Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) participated in a roundtable for the Congressional Mental Health Caucus.

During the roundtable, Congressman Emmer spoke about a letter he wrote to House appropriators on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee asking them to request the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publish a report on the impact of repealing the Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion. 

The current exclusion prohibits the use of federal Medicaid financing for care provided to patients in mental health and substance use disorder residential treatment facilities larger than 16 beds, and for longer than 15 days. 

"Eliminating the IMD exclusion will improve access to quality mental health services for the most vulnerable in our society. The IMD exclusion created an arbitrary and discriminatory limit to critical health care in the United States. Medicaid-eligible individuals struggling with mental health challenges need their treatment covered just like individuals facing physical health issues. It's time we understand the full impact of the exclusion—and then work to eliminate it," said Emmer.

Specifically, Congressman Emmer asked for CMS to issue a report within 180 days examining how repealing Medicaid’s IMD exclusion could improve access to, and quality of, mental health services in our health care system, especially for individuals between the ages of 21 and 64. The report would also provide an updated cost estimate of repealing the exclusion and guidance to states and the federal government on accommodating the expanded service.

Additionally, Congressman Emmer introduced the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, which allows states to receive federal Medicaid payment for psychiatric and substance use disorder services provided in an IMD to patients who are enrolled with a Medicaid-managed care organization (MCO) or in a pre-paid inpatient health plan (PIHP). It also removes the 15-day cap on coverage for IMD inpatient care.

Congressman Emmer also partnered with Congressman David Trone (MD-06) to introduce the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act, which establishes an Interagency Coordinator for Behavioral Health to streamline the programs and activities of the federal government relating to mental health.

Read more on Representative Emmer's work on mental health care here.