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Behavioral Health Care in Schools
Ohio Medicaid is partnering with the Departments of Education and Mental Health and Addiction Services to improve access to high-quality behavioral health care in schools.
Behavioral Health Care in Schools

Budget Impact

In addition to continuation of the Medicaid in Schools and School-Based Health Care programs, Ohio Medicaid is proposing a $15 million ($4.5 million state GRF) investment for funding and technical support to community-driven school-related health care initiatives over the biennium. The Department also proposes enhancing its telehealth services to facilitate delivery of behavioral health care in schools with a $15 million ($4.5 million state GRF) investment over the biennium.


A recent study1 shows that fifty percent of all Ohio’s children with behavioral health needs are not receiving the care they require. Today, over thirty percent of children enrolled in the Medicaid program are receiving behavioral health services, but some might not be getting enough care or the right types of care, and face challenges in accessing the services they need. When children have access to behavioral health services, they have improved rates of school attendance and better learning outcomes.

Ohio Medicaid currently supports school-related health care, including behavioral health services, through the following means:

  •  The Medicaid School Program (MSP) allows schools to claim federal Medicaid matching dollars for services delivered to Medicaid-enrolled children who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in place. MSP provides reimbursement for a specific set of services that can help students in classroom settings, and these services must be outlined on the child’s IEP to be eligible for reimbursement.
  •  Technical assistance and support for the Ohio Medicaid / Ohio Department of Education School-Based Health Care initiative. School-based health care in Ohio ranges from large school health centers that house full-time medical staff, to smaller part-time and mobile clinics that provide more targeted services.
  •  Reimbursement to providers for face-to-face and limited videoconference-based services delivered to children in schools. Individual providers and provider organizations often meet students at school to facilitate access to care, and some behavioral health providers can deliver services to children in school via secure video-conferencing.

Policy Proposal

To help accomplish Governor DeWine’s goal for every school to have access to behavioral health services, Ohio Medicaid is proposing to:

  •  Reduce regulatory constraints and increase flexibility for the health care sector to deliver telehealth services in a variety of locations, including schools.
  •  Partner with the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to fund and provide support to expand the availability of prevention and treatment services within our education system so kids can access the care they need without missing class to travel to a health clinic or hospital. Schools, communities, and health care providers will have new opportunities to develop access to care in and around schools.
  •  Optimize the Medicaid in Schools program and re-align the School-Based Health Care initiative to better meet the behavioral health needs of students across the state.


1 Whitney DG, Peterson MD. US National and State-Level Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders and Disparities of Mental Health Care Use in Children. JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 11, 2019.