Wyden, Merkley Urge Feds to Support Oregon’s School-Based Health Services Financed by Medicaid

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week urged federal health officials to award a planning grant up to $2.5 million to Oregon that would strengthen school-based health services financed by Medicaid in the state.

The senators’ letter to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services comes in support of the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) grant application.

“This planning grant would help OHA and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to prepare Oregon’s schools to provide a holistic approach to students’ medical and behavioral health needs provided in school settings, expand the availability of reimbursement for all medically-necessary Medicaid-covered services provided in the school-based setting, support school districts and local education agencies (LEAs) via technical assistance and training, and support community engagement,” Wyden and Merkley wrote CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “These are exactly the types of activities we envisioned these grants could support.”

CMS in 2014 began letting states seek Medicaid reimbursement for health services for all students enrolled in Medicaid. Oregon is one of a limited number of states that’s taken the initiative to expand its use of Medicaid beyond services listed on individualized education programs and individualized family service plans to support a broad range of health services in schools.

“We are excited about this opportunity for Oregon, and we are confident OHA will use this grant funding to effectively fill current gaps in their provision of Medicaid-funded school-based health services,” Wyden and Merkley wrote.

The entire letter is here.