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Medicaid Behavioral Health Collaborative (MBHC) Project

Contact

Albert Wall, Director
Division of Behavioral Health
P.O. Box 110620
350 Main St., Ste. 214
Juneau, AK 99811
Phone 907-465-3370
Fax 907-465-2668

Resources

Workgroup Website

Background

The federal landscape concerning Medicaid-funded behavioral health services is undergoing significant changes in the following areas:

  • New Audits: Increased federal audits of state behavioral health services which have resulted in multi-million dollar paybacks in several states;
  • Reasserting Old Rules: Re-interpretation of existing regulations to disallow federal Medicaid reimbursement of services which have historically been allowable and reimbursable;
  • New Rules: Development of several new sets of federal regulations to significantly curtail the scope of behavioral health services reimbursable under federal Medicaid;
  • Payment Issues
    • Creating Silos: Separating Medicaid from child welfare, juvenile justice and education systems with increased pressure on these other systems to pay for services that have been historically paid by Medicaid
    • Unbundling: An increased unwillingness to pay for “bundled” services (daily rates, etc.) and instead to allow billing only for discreet units of services in very small time increments.

These factors taken collectively indicate the increasing reluctance of the federal government to pay for behavioral health services under the Medicaid program and its multi-level strategies to achieve major cost containment objectives in the federal budget.

Project Purpose

The purpose of this project is to examine the changes noted above and to assess their impact on Alaska’s behavioral health system. The Project will be advisory to the State and will address two sets of issues: immediate issues and planning issues. The Project will first develop and oversee an action plan for those issues that are immediate. The Project will then research those issues that are not yet certain and that require additional information, and make recommendations on how to approach these longer-term issues.