10/03/22 | News

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that would require Medicaid reimbursement for covered behavioral health services provided by a local education agency to any student who is who is eligible as a Medicaid beneficiary advanced out of the Senate Education Committee.

Under the bill, Medicaid-covered behavioral health services provided to a Medicaid beneficiary would be reimbursable regardless of whether the student participates in an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Accommodation Plan, Individualized Health Care Plan (IFSP), or Individualized Family Service Plan; or whether the covered services are provided at no charge to the student. The bill would require such services to be provided by a licensed medical practitioner approved as a Medicaid provider or a local education agency approved as a Medicaid provider.

“The goal here is to make sure all students in need of behavioral health services have access to them. This bill will allow us to expand on school-based Medicaid services at a time when so many of our students and their families are facing behavioral health challenges,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), chair of the Senate Education Committee. “This will also allow a school to access additional funds through which it can continue to support student mental and behavioral health services.”

The bill, S-2416, comes in response to the reversal of a federal Medicaid policy which prohibited Medicaid reimbursement for school health services if the same services were provided free of charge to the general student population unless the services were specifically included in a student’s IEP, IFSP, or other similar educational plan.

Currently, Medicaid reimbursement is only available in New Jersey for those services provided to students who qualify under the rule exception through the Special Education Medicaid Initiative (SEMI) program.

The bill was moved out of committee by a vote of 5-0.