The case for expanding access to Medicaid school-based services in Oklahoma

June 29, 2023

With rising rates of mental distress among children and youth, schools play an increasingly pivotal role in addressing students’ mental health needs. However, only 15% of the state's 509 school districts are billing Medicaid for school-based services, despite available funding.

In this policy analysis, we examine how Oklahoma could increase students' access to mental health services by expanding school-based Medicaid services and look to other states' implementation as examples.

Key takeaways

  • To meet rising demand for mental health services among children and youth, Oklahoma could join 21 other states in capitalizing on a 2014 federal rule change allowing schools to deliver Medicaid mental health services to more students.
  • Allowing schools to be reimbursed for providing Medicaid school-based services to a wider swath of students can help children receive mental health care they may not be able to access elsewhere.
  • Expanding access to Medicaid school-based services is an opportunity for increased federal funding to Oklahoma. To ensure the successful delivery of school-based services, Oklahoma could leverage school-community partnerships to increase their capacity to serve children and youth with complex needs.