Exploring CMS’ Medicaid School-Based Services Technical Assistance Center

As a part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) were directed to develop a technical assistance center (TAC) to assist and expand the capacity of state Medicaid and education agencies, local education agencies, and school districts to deliver school-based services under Medicaid. Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, state and local agencies and school-based entities were invited to send in questions and request technical assistance to the TAC via email at SchoolBasedServices@cms.hhs.gov. In June 2023, CMS officially launched the TAC landing page with technical assistance resources to support states in implementing their school-based services programs, such as information on Medicaid’s early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment (EPSDT) benefit, example state plan amendments (SPAs), time study implementation plans, and cost report materials. ED also has a few resources posted, primarily related to services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The newest resource added to the TAC landing page is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have been received by the TAC about Medicaid school-based services, as well as a list of commonly used acronyms. Topics currently covered by the FAQs include:

  • Administrative claiming
  • Billing/funding
  • Guidance/compliance
  • Time study implementation plans
  • Services and Documentation
  • State Plan Amendments
  • Technical Assistance Center

Within the FAQs, CMS states that while not all flexibility offered in the updated Medicaid Services and Administrative Claiming Guide have to be implemented, there is an expectation that states will come into compliance with all federal requirements discussed in the guide by July 1, 2026. States are strongly encouraged to submit any necessary changes to SPAs, time study implementation plans, Medicaid claiming guides, and other administrative documents as soon as possible to meet the 2026 deadline. CMS has indicated that additional questions will be added to the FAQs over time, so keep an eye out for updates.

In addition to the materials on their website, the TAC supports state Medicaid and education agencies, local education agencies, and school-based entities through webinars to provide best practices and walk through different administrative aspects of Medicaid school-based services. These webinars are open to the public, and the next installment, “Provider Billing for Mental Health Services within Medicaid School-Based Services,” will take place on April 25th at 3pm ET. Registration for future webinars and recordings of past webinars are available on the TAC landing page here.

It’s been a big year for school Medicaid, and the momentum has not run out yet. As additional materials are added to the TAC website, we will continue to post updates highlighting resources that may aid states in further developing their school-based Medicaid programs.

Margaux Johnson-Green is a State Health Policy Analyst with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.