Ohio Poverty Law Center Requests improved Medicaid EPSDT rule in Ohio Department of Medicaid Public Hearing

On Friday September 15th,  former legal aid client Amber McCullough testified alongside the Ohio Poverty Law Center before the Ohio Department of Medicaid about her struggle to obtain specialized transportation services for her 2-year-old daughter.

Ms. McCullough’s daughter is wheel-chair bound and requires a wheelchair accessible van to transport her to and from appointments. Ms. McCullough had to rely on the fire department countless times to take her daughter to her doctor’s visits after being unable to obtain appropriate transportation through the Medicaid program.

Ms. McCullough’s experience is common for families who need services that are not traditionally covered by Medicaid. The Ohio Department of Medicaid is proposing to rescind six rules governing its “Healthchek” program that provides screening, diagnosis, and treatment services (EPSDT) to children enrolled in Medicaid. The single replacement rule gives less guidance to healthcare providers, insurance companies, and parents regarding how benefits must be provided to children with special needs.

Ms. McCullough and the Ohio Poverty Law Center urged the Department of Medicaid to improve their existing Healthchek rules instead of creating more confusion in an already hard to navigate program.

The Ohio Poverty Law Center made the following requests:

  1. Explicitly mention the expanded scope of services available to children through the EPSDT program
  2. Enumerate Transportation and scheduling assistance as covered services
  3. Retain language from the existing rule regarding Medicaid payment for environmental investigations for elevated blood-lead levels.
  4. Increase awareness of the EPSDT benefit through improved public guidance.

Read the Ohio Poverty Law Center’s comments in full here.