States Expand Medicaid Reimbursement of School-Based Telehealth Services

Center for Connected Health Policy

June 2021

49 states currently have policies allowing Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth in schools – 24 had existing policies, 31 recently expanded policies during the pandemic, and at least four states have indicated they may make the changes permanent.

The National Academy for State Health Policy released a report last month on how states are increasing Medicaid coverage of school-based telehealth during COVID-19, as well as assessing which services can be effectively delivered via telehealth and how to best support equitable access to services via telehealth for students. The authors found that 49 states currently have policies allowing Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth in schools – 24 had existing policies, 31 recently expanded policies during the pandemic, and at least four states have indicated they may make the changes permanent. As far as services, the brief showed that most states cover audiology and speech-language therapy via telehealth, although behavioral health services had the greatest expansion and providing telemental health they found to be a recognized best practice. Half of all states cover individualized education program (IEP) plan services or Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services as well. The report also suggests that moving forward states should explore federal funding opportunities to expand technology and broadband access for students facing disparities in access to care.