Washington state has been selected to participate in a Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration project to test whether Medicaid beneficiaries who experience a psychiatric emergency receive more immediate, appropriate care when psychiatric hospitals receive Medicaid reimbursement.

Washington is one of 10 states and the District of Columbia to receive funding for this project. The funding is provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, under the Affordable Care Act.
The project will provide an estimated $4.3 million annually in federal Medicaid matching funds, over three years, for emergency psychiatric services provided in three private psychiatric hospitals in Washington – Fairfax Hospital and Navos Mental Health in King County, and Lourdes Counseling Center in Richland. 
 
In addition to the three psychiatric hospitals, DBHR will collaborate with the Washington State Health Care Authority, the Washington State Hospital Association’s member hospitals, and the regional support networks who administer state mental health programs.

The funding is for patients who are Medicaid eligible, ages 21 to 64, to stabilize an emergency medical condition that could cause individuals to harm themselves or others.
 
CMS will evaluate whether this expansion improves access to and quality of medically necessary care, is cost-effective, and reduces the burden on community hospital emergency departments. CMS will then make a recommendation to Congress about continuing and expanding the project.