The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced last week that it had approved the state of Idaho’s IMD waiver. Under federal Medicaid rules, institutions for mental disease (IMDs) are excluded from accepting Medicaid as payment for behavioral health services. The state of Idaho applied last fall for a waiver to allow IMDs in Idaho to accept Medicaid as payment for services.
The waiver will apply to both the Medicaid expansion population as well as individuals on traditional Medicaid. The waiver is effective April 17. “This is very exciting news,” said Idaho Medicaid Administrator Matt Wimmer. “Medicaid will now be able to pay for services for people with behavioral health needs, even when those needs are so acute as to require hospitalization. It is a great step forward for Idaho’s behavioral health system of care.”
The waiver will have a positive financial impact on county taxpayers. Counties are required by law to pay for expenses related to the involuntary commitment of individuals suffering from mental illnesses. Last year counties statewide spent over $8 million on involuntary commitments. Moving forward, counties will no longer be required to pay commitment costs for individuals who qualify for Medicaid.