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NH DHHS Seeks Demonstration Waiver Extension from CMS to Support and Enhance Access to Behavioral Health Services

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Department Seeks Public Input on Request to Expand Behavioral Health Services for Individuals Transitioning from Correctional Settings

As part of New Hampshire’s ongoing efforts to improve access to behavioral health services in the State, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announces its intent to request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) a five-year extension of the Substance Use Disorder Serious Mental Illness Serious Emotional Disturbance Treatment and Recovery Access Section 1115(a) Research and Demonstration Waiver. The proposed extension will allow the Department to continue in its efforts to expand the continuum of care for and increase access to substance use disorder and mental health treatment supports for all New Hampshire residents.

In addition to extending the existing authorities as outlined in the approved Special Terms and Conditions dated June 2, 2022, the request also includes a newly proposed component called Community Reentry. This new demonstration authority would enable DHHS to claim federal reimbursement for beneficiaries who are otherwise eligible and receiving substance use disorder (SUD), serious mental illness (SMI), or Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) treatment while an inmate of a public institution within NHDOC’s system of state prisons, for a focused package of care coordination and services to be provided during the period 45 days prior to release.

“This extension allows New Hampshire to continue strengthening our behavioral health continuum of care and expand access to critical supports for those in need of substance use and mental health treatment,” said DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette. “The addition of Community Reentry would make New Hampshire one of the first states in the nation to implement such a demonstration and we are eager to test the commonsense notion that enhancing care transitions from incarcerated settings will lead to reduced recidivism and potential savings for the Medicaid program and Department of Corrections.”

Prior to submitting the extension request to CMS, DHHS is seeking comment from the public. The 30-day public comment period is from Monday, August 8, 2022, until Tuesday, September 6, 2022. All comments must be received by 5:00 pm (Eastern) on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. DHHS will host two public hearings during the public comment period:

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 5:30 pm 
    Manchester Public Library Auditorium
    405 Pine Street
    Manchester, NH 03104
  • Thursday, August 18, 2022, 5:00 pm
    Littleton Regional Healthcare
    600 St. Johnsbury Road
    Littleton, NH 03561

Additionally, residents may also provide comments at the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC) meeting on August 8, 2022, 10:00 am, Brown Building Auditorium, 129 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301. All MCAC meetings are open to the public.

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