CMS Awards State Grants to Expand School Medicaid

June 25, 2024 | Written By:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 18 states up to $2.5 million each to support the implementation, enhancement or expansion of their school Medicaid program. The announcement was made June 25.

The grants are intended to help bolster state and local infrastructure for the school Medicaid program and are one of a series of recent federal investments aimed at connecting millions more children to essential school health services.  

“Expanding school Medicaid opens up a significant funding source for schools and enables states to better meet children’s health needs,” said Jessie Mandle, Healthy Schools Campaign national program director. 

“There is national momentum to improve access to school-based healthcare,” Mandle added. “We expect these grants will lead to even more state successes in providing children with the physical, behavioral and mental health services they need.”

HSC hosted a webinar June 26 with federal, state and local leaders to discuss the CMS grants and opportunities for all states to expand school Medicaid. View the recording, slides and related resources.

Every state is encouraged to set the necessary groundwork to leverage additional Medicaid funding, regardless of grant status.

In 2014, CMS clarified that states could seek reimbursement for all medically necessary services provided to all students enrolled in Medicaid instead of limiting reimbursement to health services included in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

However, most states first need to update their school Medicaid program — a process that requires coordination among state Medicaid and education agencies and school districts. The work involves matching the state’s approved list of Medicaid-covered school-based services and providers with the services that are or can be offered in a school setting. States then submit an amended state Medicaid plan to CMS for approval. 

Expanding the school Medicaid program helps fund health services already offered in schools without reimbursement and provides an opportunity to meet additional student health needs. Also, expanding the school health workforce eligible for reimbursement can help increase school health staffing and address workforce challenges. 

States that have taken some action to expand their school-based Medicaid program are already seeing significant financial benefits. Illinois, for example, recently secured nearly $17.8 million in additional Medicaid funding for participating school districts in its first billing year following comprehensive expansion.  

CMS awarded grants to the following states to support enhancement* of school-based services:

  • Kentucky 
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota

CMS awarded grants to the following states to support expansion* of school-based services:

  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania

CMS awarded grants to the following states to support implementation* of school-based services:

  • Alaska
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin 

*Please refer to the CMS announcement for more information about recipient type definitions for each grant category. 

For more information about HSC’s work on school Medicaid, visit Healthy Students, Promising Futures.

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