Bill draft would help increase Medicaid reimbursements for residential psychiatric facilities without using state money

A legislative committee is drafting a bill to increase Medicaid reimbursements for psychiatric residential treatment facilities in Wyoming – without using state funding.

The bill authorizes the Wyoming Department of Health to pursue an “upper payment limit” program with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to benefit the state’s two psychiatric residential treatment facilities for adolescents: the Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper and Saint Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington.

The program would collect fees from various medical providers in Wyoming, then use that money to generate federal matching funds that could be redistributed to the two treatment facilities, WDH director Stefan Johansson said during a Labor, Health and Social Services Committee meeting this month.

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Those facilities are currently struggling to keep up with increased costs, and as a result they are dealing with staffing shortages that lead to a decrease in available beds.

“We have kid in our state that are in dire crisis – they need help, and we are not serving them,” Wyoming Hospital Association president Eric Boley said during this month’s meeting. “I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help these facilities (to) serve the kids of our state.”

The Labor committee will consider the bill draft during its next meeting, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 6-7 in Cheyenne.

Local legislators on the committee include Wyoming Reps. Andi LeBeau, D-Ethete, and Pepper Ottman, R-Riverton.

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