The Ohio Department of Medicaid is receiving $100 million to increase payments to mental health and addiction recovery providers, who say they have been financially struggling under changes made in recent years (Source: “Ohio Medicaid gets $100 million with aim to improve mental health care,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 2, 2019).
The announcement was made official in an executive order signed this week by Gov. Mike DeWine. The money is coming from the budget bill passed last month -- $50 million for this fiscal year and $50 million for next fiscal year. This year’s Ohio Medicaid budget – both in state and federal dollars – is $25.3 billion.
DeWine’s executive order also allows Ohio Medicaid to relax some Gov. Kasich-era policies that service providers said prevented them from easily getting to mental health and substance abuse patients.
During the Kasich administration, Medicaid payments changed for mental health providers. Providers formerly billed the state and were paid directly by the state. The change required them to bill and get paid by managed-care organizations – companies such as CareSource or UnitedHealthcare. The state was paying the managed-care organizations. As part of that change, medical billing codes for mental health were updated and policies about what services could be reimbursed changed.