Expand states’ capacity to provide MH/SUD services under Medicaid

Emergency & Crisis Response
Parity, Coverage, & Equitable Access
social determinants of health
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Coverage & Standards
Federal department
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house committees
House Energy and Commerce Committee
senate committees
Senate Finance Committee


Congress should incentivize states to expand their capacity to provide mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) services under Medicaid, which will improve equity. For example, Congress should authorize a planning grant or demonstration program to provide participating state Medicaid programs with additional federal funding to expand or improve the capacity of MH/SUD participating providers.[1]


Medicaid is the single largest payer of MH/SUD services in the United States, with 40 percent of the nearly 14 million beneficiaries requiring some form of MH/SUD treatment in 2020.[2] However, Medicaid beneficiaries are disproportionately more likely to encounter MH/SUD services through visits to emergency departments during a crisis, indicating barriers to access.[3] This is, in part, due to a shortage of MH/SUD providers who accept Medicaid.[4] Planning grants provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been used to assist states in building out MH/SUD crisis services, including mobile crisis response.[5][6] Congress should incentivize increased state Medicaid program innovation and their capacity to provide MH/SUD services with additional federal funding attached to these or new planning grants.[1]


1. Senate Finance Committee. “SFC Bipartisan Mental Health Care Provisions”. Last Accessed May 26, 2022.

2. Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid Coverage of Behavioral Health Services in 2022: Findings from a Survey of State Medicaid Programs. Last Updated March 17, 2023.

3. National Institute of Mental Health. Medicaid Data Show Wide Differences in Mental Health Care in the United States. Last Updated March 23, 2023.

4. Kaiser Family Foundation. Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Last Updated September 30, 2022.

5. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Planning and Development Grants. Last Updated November 15, 2022.

6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Biden-Harris Administration Awards $15 Million to 20 States for Mobile Crisis Intervention. Last Updated September 20, 2021.