Leveraging Medicaid to Support Children and Youth Living With Complex Behavioral Health Needs

This report was made possible through the generous support of The Commonwealth Fund.

Jocelyn Guyer, Senior Managing Director, Manatt Health | Gina Rogari, Manager, Manatt Health | Michaiah Parker, Senior Analyst, Manatt Health | Sheamekah Williams, President of Evolution Foundation | John O’Brien, Consultant

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already-growing mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) (behavioral health) crisis gripping children and youth in the United States. It has spurred federal, state, and other actions to expand funding and treatment opportunities to improve the behavioral health and well-being of these young people. The crisis is impacting children, adolescents, young adults, and their families and caretakers across all social and demographic levels. Addressing it requires a concerted effort across multiple sectors, including health, education, justice, and child welfare. Medicaid, the largest health insurer for children and adolescents and primary payer of behavioral health care in the United States, can serve as a linchpin for states seeking to improve behavioral health care for children and youth.

In a new report prepared for The Commonwealth Fund, Manatt Health provides an actionable framework and strategies for how state-level policymakers can use Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to respond to the behavioral health crisis among children and youth living with complex needs—those who are stuck in emergency departments  for days on end, cycling in and out of psychiatric hospitals, contemplating and sometimes attempting or completing suicide, or struggling to remain in school or to find and keep a job. The framework and strategies are rooted in a family- and community-based approach that recognizes children and youth fare best when treated in the context of their families (broadly defined) and communities, as well as when interventions build on their strengths and maximize their choices and autonomy. This white paper was informed by the expertise and lived experience of members of a National Advisory Committee and a Youth Advisory Committee.

To read the full white paper, click here.



pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

© 2024 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

All rights reserved