EPSDT Background

EPSDT services are often confused with a treatment philosophy called “wrap-around” services.  They are not the same.  EPSDT services are mandated by the Federal government for children in all 50 states, are not “time limited” (except by the child’s attaining the age of 21 years), do not need to be “titrated” according to some preordained schedule (as if any mortal professional could possibly predict the future of a child’s need for services four months hence), and can be delivered anywhere (including a doctor’s office), whether or not the skills and expertise of the professionals providing treatment are “transferred” to the child, his or her parents, teachers or other adults. 

Click here to view a video that comprehensively explains EPSDT, how it funds Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services in Pennsylvania, and how to advocate for the Civil Rights of children with disabilities.

EPSDT services are, after all, treatment services that are necessary, as defined by a licensed professional prescribing them, and cannot be denied to a child just because the “state plan” doesn’t include them.  That’s Federal Law.  On the other hand, the “wrap-around” philosophy, while a worthy ideal for treatment providers to aspire to (striving to replace professional service providers with no-cost “naturally occurring supports” in the child’s home, school and community), can be misapplied to create barriers to treatment and impose unnecessary restrictions and limitations on access to EPSDT services.  To the best of our ability to discover (since each state has implemented it’s own version of the EPSDT mandate), obedience or fidelity to the wrap-around philosophy, while it may be admirable, is not mandated anywhere, although some will argue quite forcefully as if that were the case. 

At the Institute for Behavior Change, we are dedicated to the encouragement of responsible professionals, practicing in the mental health field to better the lives of children and their families, to explore the opportunities provided by the EPSDT system to deliver state-of-the-art and evidence-based treatment services to children in their homes, schools and communities.  No other treatment modality has shown such promise in the treatment of children with developmental delays, behavioral disorders or mental illnesses. Fidelity to the wrap-around philosophy is a worthy goal for any professional or treatment provider to aspire to, so long as it does not interfere with the delivery of necessary treatment services.

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