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N.H. To Apply For Federal Waiver to Spend Medicaid Dollars On Mental Health

State health officials say they are planning to apply for a waiver from the federal government that would loosen restrictions on how Medicaid dollars could be spent on mental health treatment in New Hampshire.

Federal law currently prohibits the use of Medicaid dollars to pay for mental health care at facilities with more than 16 beds, to prevent the so-called “warehousing” of mental health patients with public funds.

Earlier this month the Trump administration announced it would allow states to apply for exemptions to that requirement as long as they meet certain other criteria.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Service spokesperson, staff at DHHS are currently working on an application for waiver that will be made public soon. The spokesperson said there will be opportunities for public comment before the application is finalized.

New Hampshire has faced a shortage of mental health treatment options for years, as most visibly demonstrated by the state’s emergency room boarding crisis.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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