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After Long Wait, DHHS Expands Medicaid to Schools for Student Health Care

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The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that temporary rules are in place to expand the state’s Medicaid to Schools Program. 

The state legislature approved the expanded program last summer but roll-out has been slow. Christine Santaniello, the director of the Division of Long Term Supports and Services at DHHS, says DHHS had to wait for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to approve the state's plan for the services before implementing new rules.

Santaniello says Tuesday's change immediately expands the number of students who can receive services that are reimbursed and the types of services that are reimbursable, such as behavioral health. 

"A school district may have been providing group therapy for a group of children," she explains. "That might not have been something that they were able to get reimbursed for; now that is something that they will be reimbursed for."

According to DHHS, 63 percent of school districts already participate in the voluntary Medicaid to Schools program and have received $28 million in reimbursements. The new rules will likely increase this number.

DHHS will seek public comment on the temporary rules in September.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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