One of the evidence-based strategies to prevent suicide among children is to provide easily accessible behavioral health services for students in the school setting.

Schools in Arizona have historically been approved settings for Medicaid-covered behavioral health services… but Arizona has recently been moving forward to make it more robust.  

Last legislative session, an additional $3M was appropriated to expand behavioral health services in schools with $1M going to a partnership with the Arizona Department of Education to provide mental health training to schools and school districts.  

The remaining funds are being matched with Federal Funds to generate $10M in Medicaid funding to AHCCCS health plans to bring behavioral health providers into the school setting and pay for Medicaid-covered behavioral health services in schools.  Examples of some of these projects include:

  • Project AWARE: In collaboration with the Arizona Department of Education, AHCCCS is working with three school districts to implement Mental Health First Aid training.

  • The Safe Arizona Schools Plan which pays for in mental and behavioral health resources at schools. With $1M in funding, the Arizona Department of Education and AHCCCS signed an agreement to partner efforts in expanding access to behavioral health training in schools statewide. 

  • Arizona Medicaid School-Based Claiming Program: Arizona participates in two Medicaid reimbursement programs for school-based services, the Direct Service Claiming program and the Medicaid Administrative Claiming program both of which help certain school districts by reimbursing them for their costs to provide Medicaid covered services to eligible students.

At this week’s  State Medicaid Advisory Committee (SMAC) meeting, Director Snyder confirmed that AHCCCS is planning to file a state plan amendment later this year which would allow schools to bill for eligible services provided to AHCCCS participants. More info on this opportunity here and here.