Ohio Tests a Redesign of How Mental Health and Addiction Specialists Get Paid

Oct 23, 2017

Ohio Medicaid Director Barbara Sears testifies in front of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee. The state is redesigning the way mental health and addiction services are covered under health care plans.
Credit ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state is redesigning the way mental health and addiction services are covered under health-care plans. Those services are critical in fighting the deadly opioid crisis. That means a lot of testing is needed before implementing the new system.

The Behavioral Health Redesign intends to bring these services up to national standards and expand access. But it involves compensating those services through a different coding system, which could mean delays in payment.

Ohio’s health-related departments told a panel of lawmakers that they’re in the middle of testing the program to make sure things go smoothly.

Republican Sen. Dave Burke is part of that panel. He says these service providers operate on narrow margins and must be paid on time.

“If we had a disruption in the billing cycle because of a coding issue, that could be three to four weeks before they find out on a claim that they didn’t get paid,” said Burke.

The redesign is go into full effect next July.