Policy Resource

Arkansas Amends Medicaid Rules to Strengthen Infant Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment

Mar 10, 2017

The Arkansas legislature recently approved a Behavioral Health Transformation package that includes changes to Medicaid aimed at improving diagnosis and treatment of very young children with mental health disorders.

The Behavioral Health Transformation package calls on providers to use the DC:0-3R Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (recently revised to DC:0-5TM) to diagnose children aged 0-4. Use of this age-appropriate classification system increases the chances that a child will be appropriately diagnosed and referred to evidence-based treatment. Providers are advised to crosswalk the DC:0-3R to a Division of Medical Services diagnosis for Medicaid reimbursement. The rule changes also change policy so that for the first time, Arkansas Medicaid will reimburse providers for dyadic therapies, which treat infants and their caregivers in the context of their relationship. Approval of this package was the result of years of work on the part of the Department of Human Services, mental health and substance abuse treatment clinicians, and families who advocated for change. It will be effective July 1, 2017.

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