With all states having enacted their fiscal year (FY) 2024 budgets, Children's Hospital Association has updated its state behavioral health initiative tracker to incorporate information on all states’ pediatric behavioral health funding priorities. For information about governors’ FY 2024 pediatric behavioral health budget requests, see the CHA FY 2024 proposed budget tracker.
The majority of states have made investments in children's behavioral health initiatives for FY 2024, showing that this continues to be an ongoing and growing priority for states. The key common themes among states’ pediatric behavioral health initiatives were similar to those that states funded in FY 2023, with a greater number of states funding programs in each area. These themes are:
- A focus on school-based behavioral health services.
- Investments in the behavioral health workforce.
- Increases in Medicaid provider reimbursement for behavioral health services.
Highlights of states’ pediatric-focused behavioral health initiatives can be found below.
Supporting and expanding school-based behavioral health services
Twenty-four states funded school-based behavioral health initiatives, an increase from FY 2023, where twelve states funded school-based behavioral health programs. In FY 2024:
- Seven states are funding increases in the number of school-based behavioral health providers.
- Thirteen states are funding programs that expand access to behavioral health services in school settings. For example, some states are partnering with community-based organizations to provide behavioral health services for students.
Investing in the behavioral health workforce
Twenty-three state budgets include funding to strengthen the overall behavioral health workforce and provider infrastructure. No state targeted pediatric providers, specifically. The number of states funding behavioral health workforce programs increased in FY 2024 compared to FY 2023, with twelve states funding initiatives in FY 2023. In FY 2024:
- Nine state budgets include funding for behavioral health provider loan repayment programs.
- Eleven state budgets target funding towards behavioral health provider recruitment and retention efforts.
Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates
Twelve proposed budgets include funding to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health services, the same number as in FY 2023. Most of the increases are not targeted towards pediatric providers or services. Examples of rate increases enacted in FY 2024 include the following:
- One state is increasing Medicaid rates for value-based pediatric behavioral health services.
- One state is increasing reimbursement rates for Medicaid services for individuals with complex health care needs.
- Four states are increasing Medicaid payment for community behavioral health services.
Instructions for sorting the information included in this tracker can be found below. Initiatives can be sorted by the state (column A) and behavioral health priority (column C).
In January 2024, governors will begin to release their executive budgets for FY 2025. CHA plans to review the budgets and release a tracker in early-to-mid 2024 of governors’ proposals to support pediatric behavioral health initiatives.