Turning research into actionMaintaining COVID-era Telehealth Practices Can Better Meet Student Mental Health Needs
Research suggests that one in seven children in the United States have a diagnosable mental health condition. But despite efforts to increase access to care through school-based mental health services, most youth with a mental health condition do not receive the treatment they need. Telehealth services, however, have the potential to increase access to school-based mental health treatment by reducing districts’ need for on-site personnel—of which there is a national shortage—without compromising the quality of care. Therefore, states should consider maintaining the telehealth flexibilities they enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to improve access to critical school-based mental health services for youth, even after the public health emergency ends.
In 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance to allow providers in educational settings to seek Medicaid reimbursement for free preventive services covered by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit provided to Medicaid-enrolled children. However, following CMS’ announcement, states retained policies restricting reimbursement for these services.