Effective January 2008, state Medicaid plans may reimburse for screening and brief intervention for alcohol and drug misuse. This study assessed state Medicaid activity to implement Healthcare Common Procedure Code System codes and pay for screening and brief intervention.
State and District of Columbia Medicaid representatives (N=44) participated in semistructured telephone interviews (N=37) or provided e-mail correspondence (N=7) about implementation of reimbursement codes. Confirmatory Web searches of Medicaid fee schedules supplemented findings and provided information for the remaining seven states.
More than half the states (N=28) list designated screening and brief intervention codes in their state Medicaid fee schedules; 19 of those states are capable of reimbursing for the codes. Qualitative analysis examined the challenges in choosing codes, assigning reimbursement rates, and working within constrained Medicaid budgets.
Implementation of billing codes appears to be an insufficient policy mechanism to promote utilization of screening and brief intervention for treating substance use. (Psychiatric Services 62:306–309, 2011)