03/11/2020

On March 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a State Health Official letter describing required access to mental health and substance use disorder services for children and pregnant women enrolled in standalone CHIP programs, as required under Section 5022 of the SUPPORT Act. 

These provisions, which became effective October 24, 2019, require child health and pregnancy related assistance to cover mental health services and behavioral health services necessary to prevent, diagnose, and treat a broad range of mental health symptoms and disorders. CMS interprets the coverage requirements to include all developmental and behavioral health related screenings and preventive services recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics' Bright Futures periodicity schedule and any services with a grade of A or B under the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. CMS also provides a set of validated behavioral health screening tools that would satisfy the screening requirement. 

Lastly, in order to meet the statutory implementation deadline of October 24, 2019, CMS indicates that states needing to make changes to a standalone CHIP program must file a CHIP State Plan Amendment no later than the end of the state fiscal year that includes that date.