Children under age 21 with severe health conditions will receive care so they won't end up in hospitals and other institutional settings

More than 6,000 youth will benefit from an expansion in Medicaid services, the New York State Department of Health announced Tuesday. The NYSDOH approved a federal Medicaid waiver it states will improve access to care for those under age 21 with complex health needs. If not for the waiver, those in that age group with an array of serious health issues would be forced to live in hospitals and other institutional settings, according to NYSDOH.

“Expanding coverage of community-based and at-home healthcare services will allow children throughout the state to receive necessary services while remaining at home and in their communities,” stated NYSDOH commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

“Children who are involved with the child welfare system often have complex medical and behavioral health needs,” stated Sheila J. Poole, commissioner of the state Office of Children and Family Services.

The proposal was developed by the Medicaid Redesign Team’s Children’s Subcommittee. It will provide home- and community-based services to medically fragile children and those with a behavioral health diagnosis, a serious emotional disturbance, with developmental disabilities, and to children in foster care.