McNamara bill would make school psychological services eligible for Medicaid reimbursement

 

STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would make school social and psychological services eligible for Medicaid.

The bill (2021-H 5067) would direct that services provided by school social workers and certified school psychologists would be included as health care related services eligible for federal Medicaid reimbursement.

“I submitted this legislation last year before the pandemic shut everything down,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Education Committee. “I think it’s even more relevant now since the pandemic has put tremendous pressure on families — particularly children — coupled with the fact that our state budget is going to be under some sever constraints. Any help our communities can get in ensuring the presence of these mental health professionals and the essential services they provide would be a tremendous benefit to the families of Rhode Island.”

An estimated 13.7 million children have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression or behavioral health disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, behavioral health disorders can prevent children from developing coping and resiliency skills — abilities they need to help them learn, behave or handle their emotions. These skills are essential to healthy social development and help ensure children have a positive quality of life now and into adulthood. 

Studies have shown children spend approximately 49 percent of their days in a school setting and are six times more likely to get evidence-based treatment when offered in schools than in other community settings. By linking programs and supports that foster a comprehensive school mental health system, states can not only reduce the number of children experiencing anxiety, depression and behavioral health disorders, but also save a considerable amount in economic costs.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Julie Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) and Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist. 25, Coventry, West Warwick), has been referred to the House Committee on Education.

 

-30-

 

For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our Web site at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.

 

 Follow us on social media! 
President Biden says Congress has to step up and act on gun control. While speaking at the White House today, Biden said the gun epidemic "has to end now." He lamented that it seems like there is a mass shooting every day.        Attorney General Merrick Garland is rescinding limits on consent decrees the Trump administration put in place to keep the Department of Justice from seeking reforms on police departments. Garland's order returns the D-O-J to the policies in place before then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions imposed restrictions. The consent decrees are court-ordered agreements used to resolve violations of law, or systemic misconduct by state or local law enforcement.        The Ann Arbor Police Chief is giving an update on the Briarwood Mall shooting in Michigan. Chief Michael Cox says the victim suffered gunshot wounds in his "arm area" and the injuries are non-life-threatening. Police don't know how many suspects there are as they continue to secure the mall.        Vaccine hesitancy by staff is a major concern at Pennsylvania's nursing homes. The State Department of Health says only 52-percent of staff has opted to get immunized for COVID-19. On the other hand, 80-percent of Pennsylvania's nursing home patients have been vaccinated.       Liberty University is suing its former president Jerry Falwell Junior for ten-million dollars. The suit alleges that Falwell withheld scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty's board of trustees. Falwell apparently "led a scheme to cover up the illicit conduct" that damaged the Christian university and its reputation.        Actress Helen McCrory is dead at 52. McCrory is best known for her roles as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series and as Aunt Polly in the television series Peaky Blinders. Her husband, actor Damian Lewis, broke the news on his Twitter page.