Policy UpdatesTexas House Committee on Public Health – Interim Charge 3

Texas House Committee on Public Health – Interim Charge 3

SUMMARY – During the 86th Legislative Interim, in October 2020, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute provided the Texas House Committee on Public Health with a response to their Request for Information related to Interim Charge 3.


the number of states that reimburse for collaborative care in their Medicaid programs

In November 2019, Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen issued a suite of interim charges, focused on building on success and legislative accomplishments of the 86th Regular Session, including implementation and associated rulemaking of legislation passed earlier in the year. Additionally, the charges tasked to each committee also reflect issues and priorities that members had requested to study and review in preparation for the 87th legislative session in 2021.

86th Legislative Interim Committee on Public Health Charge 3

Review behavioral health capacity in the state, with a focus on suicide prevention efforts and the provision of behavioral health care services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Review suicide prevention programs and initiatives across state agencies, evaluate their effectiveness, and identify opportunities for greater coordination. Identify gaps in the continuum of care for individuals with disabilities and challenges for those providing care to them. Additionally, identify any existing administrative and licensing barriers that negatively affect overall behavioral health capacity in the state.

Our Response

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute provided a response to the request for information which laid out our recent reports analyzing the behavioral health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MMHPI also provided recommendations for the Texas Medicaid program in response to the request for information on suicide prevention programs and efforts which identified the collaborative care model (CoCM) as a proven tool to detect and prevent suicide and overdose in primary care before they become crises. The full recommendation was to add Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes 99492-99494 for CoCM to Texas Medicaid, for both children and adults, to increase access to behavioral health services integrated in primary care. Fifteen other states currently reimburse for CoCM in their Medicaid programs.

In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Texas saw an unprecedented shift in the delivery of mental health care through telemedicine, telehealth, and telephone. On March 20, 2020, Governor Abbott and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) issued a series of waivers to provide flexibility in the Texas Medicaid program and HHSC authorized certain behavioral health services to be reimbursed in Medicaid when delivered by telemedicine, telehealth, or telephone. MMHPI also made a recommendation to amend statute to ensure continued and permanent Medicaid reimbursement for certain services and related procedure codes authorized to be delivered by telemedicine, telehealth, and telephone.