Mass. General Laws c.118E § 81

Non-discriminatory provision of mental health and substance use disorder benefits for diagnosis and treatment; children and adolescents; regulations

Table of Contents

Updates

Added by St.2022, c.177, § 44, effective November 8, 2022

(a)

The division and its health insurers, health plans, health maintenance organizations, behavioral health management firms and third-party administrators under contract with the division, a Medicaid managed care organization or a primary care clinician plan shall provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits for the diagnosis and medically-necessary treatment of any behavioral health disorder described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association or the most current version of the International Classification of Diseases. The benefits shall be provided on a nondiscriminatory basis.

(b)

In addition to the mental health and substance use disorder benefits established pursuant to this section, the division shall provide benefits on a non-discriminatory basis for children and adolescents under the age of 19 for the diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioral, emotional or substance use disorders described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that substantially interfere with or substantially limit the functioning and social interactions of such a child or adolescent; provided, however, that the interference or limitation is documented by and the referral for the diagnosis and treatment is made by the primary care provider, primary pediatrician or a licensed mental health professional of such a child or adolescent or is evidenced by conduct including, but not limited to: (i) an inability to attend school as a result of such a disorder; (ii) the need to hospitalize the child or adolescent as a result of such a disorder; or (iii) a pattern of conduct or behavior caused by such a disorder that poses a serious danger to oneself or others.

(c)

For the purposes of this section, the division shall be deemed to be providing such coverage on a non-discriminatory basis if the plan or coverage does not contain any annual or lifetime dollar or unit of service limitation on coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental disorders that is less than any annual or lifetime dollar or unit of service limitation imposed on coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of physical conditions.

(d)

Benefits authorized pursuant to this section shall consist of a range of inpatient, intermediate and outpatient services that shall permit medicallynecessary, active and noncustodial treatment for the mental disorders to take place in the least restrictive clinically appropriate setting. For purposes of this section, inpatient services may be provided in a general hospital licensed to provide such services, in a facility under the direction and supervision of the department of mental health, in a private mental hospital licensed by the department of mental health or in a substance abuse facility licensed by the department of public health. Intermediate services shall include, but not be limited to, Level III community-based detoxification, acute residential treatment, partial hospitalization, day treatment and crisis stabilization licensed or approved by the department of public health or the department of mental health. Outpatient services may be provided in a licensed hospital, a mental health or substance abuse clinic licensed by the department of public health, a public community mental health center, a professional office or as home-based services.

(e)

The division and its health insurers, health plans, health maintenance organizations, behavioral health management firms and third-party administrators under contract with the division, a Medicaid managed care organization or a primary care clinician plan shall not require, as a condition of receiving benefits mandated by this section, consent to the disclosure of information regarding services for mental disorders under different terms and conditions than consent is required for disclosure of information for other medical conditions. A determination by the division or its agents that services authorized pursuant to this section are not medically necessary shall only be made by a mental health professional licensed in the appropriate specialty related to such services and, where applicable, by a provider in the same licensure category as the ordering provider; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply to denials of service resulting from an enrollee’s lack of coverage or use of a facility or professional that has not entered into a negotiated agreement with the division or its agents. The benefits provided by the division or its agents pursuant to this section shall meet all other terms and conditions of the plan consistent with state or federal law.

(f)

Nothing in this section shall require the division to pay for mental health or substance use disorder benefits or services that:

(i)  are otherwise covered by third-party insurance;

(ii)  are provided to a person who is presently incarcerated, confined or committed to a jail, house of correction or prison;

(iii)  constitute educational services required to be provided by a school committee pursuant to section 5 of chapter 71B;

(iv)  constitute services provided by the department of mental health, the department of public health or the department of developmental services; or

(v)  are not eligible for federal financial participation.

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Last updated: August 10, 2022
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