On July 19, 2023, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a markup of fifteen health bills for the SUPPORT Act Reauthorization. H.R. 4056, the Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act, was not fully included, but compromise language on this bill was added as an amendment in the nature of substitute to H.R. 4531, the Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act, which passed unanimously by voice vote, with 49 ayes.
Representative Bilirakis (R-FL) highlighted that the compromise included language that allows Medicaid to cover children for the services they receive outside of Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs). Representative Castor (D-FL) urged her colleagues to address that the most vulnerable children at are at risk of losing access to critical behavioral health services if they receive treatment at a QRTP. Ms. Castor and Mr. Bilirakis each spoke of the original intentions of the Family First Prevention Services Act, explaining that QRTPs were established under this legislation to provide controlled, specialized care to children who need it as part of a continuum of health care. While it is a step in the right direction to allow QRTP patients to receive Medicaid services outside of QRTPs, more must be done to ensure foster youth get adequate mental health care.
By Leah Sarfity, Policy Intern