Medicaid Matters: Ensuring a Strong Pediatric Benefit for Kids in Medicaid – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

Last week I attended a meeting of a new EPSDT Working
Group convened by Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator of CMS and top dog at
Medicaid and CHIP. EPSDT stands for Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and
Treatment – Medicaid’s comprehensive benefit for children —  the definitive standard of pediatric
care recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Working Group includes a range of state Medicaid
administrators, providers, children’s advocates, and other experts, and will
meet periodically over the next 18 months to come up with ideas for improving
the provision of this critical benefit. Many suggestions were thrown on the
table – including changing EPSDT’s name – which does not roll easily off the
tongue. Other issues raised included updating the periodicity schedule for
screenings, figuring out how to ensure access to much needed behavioral health
services (especially in the context of managed care and a shortage of community
based mental health services) and collecting good data to assess whether or not
children are receiving appropriate services.

CCF would welcome any thoughts or suggestions for good
models in the provision of EPSDT services and/or other suggestion for improvement
and oversight of this important benefit. Please e-mail me at
[email protected]  if you have
any ideas!

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