Great news: The federal government just made it easier for your state to expand housing and hospitalization options for the seriously mentally ill.

But we have to act fast. The new policy allows states to use Medicaid money to pay for some hospitalization and housing that was previously prohibited.

However, in order to use Medicaid to expand housing and hospitals in your state, the state Medicaid Director has to apply for a waiver.

Below is a pro-forma letter you should send to your state Medicaid Director requesting he/she apply for a waiver. The address of your state Medicaid Director is at the end of this blog. Please print this letter and send it to your state Medicaid director.

Thank you for all you do.

Fill in the info in the brackets < > and send the letter below to your state Medicaid and Health/Mental Health Director

To: <Insert Name of your State Medicaid Director. See list below to get it >
From: <Insert your complete name, address, phone, and email>
Date: <Insert Date>
Subject:  Please Apply for Waiver to use Medicaid funds for IMDs

As the <mother/father/brother, etc.> of someone with serious mental illness, I am writing to urge you to apply for a Medicaid waiver that would entitle our state to use Medicaid funds for housing and hospitalization for persons with serious mental illness. HHS Sec. Azar announced the availability of waivers to Medicaid’s Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion on November 13th and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) published formal guidance in letter SMD # 18-011 which is available at

By accessing federal Medicaid funds, our state can lower the state cost of hospitalization and ensure that more seriously mentally ill who need access to hospitalization and housing receive it. This will help lower rates of homelessness, arrest, incarceration and suicide among people with serious mental illness.

Thank you for your attention to this.

<Sign Your Name>

<Insert your complete contact info>

Find your State Medicaid Director on the list below and mail the memo above to him/her.

Ask your friends and family to do the same. Thank you for all you do.

DJ Jaffe,
Exec. Dir, Mental Illness Policy Org.;
Author, Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill.

Stephanie Azar
Alabama Medicaid Agency
501 Dexter Avenue, PO Box 5624
Montgomery, AL 36103-5624
Phone: (334) 242-5600
NAMD Region:  III

Mari Cantwell
Chief Deputy Director, Health Care Programs
California Department of Health Care Services
1501 Capitol Avenue, 6th Floor, MS 0000
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 440-7418
NAMD Region:  I

Margaret Brodie
Director, Health Care Services
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
4501 Business Park Boulevard, Building L
Anchorage, AK 99503-7167
Phone: (907) 334-2520
NAMD Region:  I

Laurel Karabatsos
Acting Medicaid Director
Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; Medicaid & Child Health Plan (CHP+)
1570 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203-1818
Phone: (303) 866-5929
NAMD Region:  I

Tom Betlach
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
801 East Jefferson, MD 4100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Phone: (602) 417-4711
NAMD Region:  I
Kate McEvoy
State Medicaid Director
Connecticut Department of Social Services
Director of Division of Health Services
55 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
Phone: (860) 424-5383
NAMD Region:  IV

Dawn Stehle
Deputy Director for Health and Medicaid Director
Division of Health and Medicaid Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services
112 West 8th Street, Slot S401
Little Rock, AR 72201-4608
Phone: (501) 682-8740
NAMD Region:  III

Stephen Groff
Medicaid Director
Division of Medicaid & Medical Assistance Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
1901 N. Dupont Highway, The Lewis Building
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (302) 255-9626
NAMD Region:  IV

District of Columbia
Melisa Byrd
Medicaid Director
District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 442-9075
NAMD Region:  IV

Teresa Hursey
Acting Administrator
Division of Medical Programs
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
201 South Grand Avenue East, 3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62763-0001
Phone: (217) 782-2570
NAMD Region:  II

Beth Kidder
Deputy Secretary for Medicaid
Florida Agency for Health Care Administration
2727 Mahan Drive, Mail Stop 8
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Phone: (850) 412-4006
NAMD Region:  III

Allison Taylor
Director of Medicaid
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
402 West Washington Street, Room W461, MS 25
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 234-8725
NAMD Region:  II

Blake T. Fulenwider
Chief of the Medicaid Division
Georgia Department of Community Health
2 Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 36450
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 651-8681
NAMD Region:  III

Mike Randol
Medicaid Director
Iowa Department of Human Services
100 Army Post Road
Des Moines, IA 50315
Phone: (515) 256-4640
NAMD Region:  II
Judy Mohr Peterson
Med-QUEST Division Administrator
Hawaii Department of Human Services
601 Kamokila Blvd, Room 518, PO Box 700190
Kapolei, HI 96709-0190
Phone: (808) 692-8050
NAMD Region:  I

Jon Hamdorf
Division Director and Medicaid
Division of Health Care Finance
Kansas Department of Health and Environment –
900 SW Jackson Avenue, Suite 900
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: (785) 296-3512
NAMD Region:  II

Matt Wimmer
Division Administrator for Medicaid
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
450 West State Street,
PTC Building, 10th Floor
Boise, ID 83705
Phone: (208) 334-5801
NAMD Region:  I

Carol Steckel
Department for Medicaid Services
Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services
275 East Main Street, 6 West A
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4321
NAMD Region:  III

Jen Steele
Medicaid Director
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
628 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 342-9240
NAMD Region:  III
Marie Zimmerman
Medicaid Director
Minnesota Department of Human Services
540 Cedar Street, PO Box 64983
St. Paul, MN 55167-0983
Phone: (651) 431-2319
NAMD Region:  II

Stefanie Nadeau
Director, Office of MaineCare Services
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
221 State Street
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-2674
NAMD Region:  IV
Drew Snyder
Executive Director
Division of Medicaid
550 High Street, Suite 1000
Walters Sillers Building
Jackson, MS 39201-1325
Phone: (601) 359-6050
NAMD Region:  III

Dennis R. Schrader
Medicaid Director
Maryland Department of Health
201 West Preston Street, Room 525
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 767-5343
NAMD Region:  IV

Todd Richardson
Director, MO HealthNet Division
Missouri Department of Social Services
615 Howerton Court, PO Box 6500
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 751-6922
NAMD Region:  II

Daniel Tsai
Assistant Secretary for MassHealth
Office of Medicaid
Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services
1 Ashburn Place, 11th Floor, Room 1109
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 573-1770
NAMD Region:  IV

Marie Matthews
State Medicaid Director
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
111 North Sanders, PO Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604
Phone: (406) 444-4084
NAMD Region:  I

Kathy Stiffler
Acting Medicaid Director
Michigan Department of Community Health
400 South Pine Street
Lansing, MI 48913
Phone: (517) 241-7882
NAMD Region:  II

Dr. Matthew Van Patton
Director, Division of Medicaid & Long-Term Care
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
301 Centennial Mall South, 3rd Floor, PO Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509-5026
Phone: (402) 471-2135
NAMD Region:  II

Cody Phinney
Acting Administrator
Division of Health Care Financing and Policy
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
1100 East William Street, Suite 101
Carson City, NV 89710
Phone: (775) 684-3677
NAMD Region:  I

North Carolina
Dave Richard
Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
1985 Umstead Drive, 2501 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2501
Phone: (919) 855-4100
NAMD Region:  III

New Hampshire
Henry Lipman
Medicaid Director
Office of Medicaid Business and Policy
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301-6521
Phone: (603) 271-4344
NAMD Region:  IV

North Dakota
Maggie Anderson
Director of Medical Services Division
North Dakota Department of Human Services
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 325
Bismarck, ND 58505-0250
Phone: (701) 328-1603
NAMD Region:  II
New Jersey
Meghan Davey
Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services
New Jersey Department of Human Services
7 Quakerbridge Plaza, PO Box 712
Trenton, NJ 08625-0712
Phone: (609) 588-2600
NAMD Region:  IV

Barbara Sears
Ohio Department of Medicaid
50 West Town Street, 4th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-4443
NAMD Region:  II

New Mexico
Nancy Smith-Leslie
Medical Assistance Division
New Mexico Department of Human Services
PO Box 2348
Santa Fe, NM 87504-2348
Phone: (505) 827-6253
NAMD Region:  III

Becky Pasternik-Ikard
Medicaid Director
Oklahoma Health Care Authority
4345 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 522-7365
NAMD Region:  III

New York
Donna Frescatore
Medicaid Director, Deputy Commissioner
New York Department of Health
Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, Room 1466
Albany, NY 12237
Phone: (518) 474-3018
NAMD Region:  IV

Medicaid Director
Oregon Health Authority
500 Summer Street, NE E49
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 945-5768
NAMD Region:  I

Leesa M. Allen
Executive Medicaid Director
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
Office of the Secretary
331 Health & Welfare Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-2600
NAMD Region:  IV

Stephanie Muth
Associate Commissioner, Medicaid/CHIP
Medical and Social Services Division
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
4900 Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751
Phone: (512) 707-6096
NAMD Region:  III

Rhode Island
Patrick Tigue
Medicaid Director
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
74 West Road, 1st Floor
Hazard Building
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-3575
NAMD Region:  IV

Nate Checketts
Director, Division of Medicaid and Health Financing
Utah Department of Health
PO Box 143101
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: (801) 538-6689
NAMD Region:  I

South Carolina
Joshua D. Baker
South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
1801 Main Street, PO Box 8206
Columbia, SC 29201-8206
Phone: (803) 898-2504
NAMD Region:  III

Cory Gustafson
Department of Vermont Health Access
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 879-5901
NAMD Region:  IV

South Dakota
Bill Snyder
Director, Medical Services
South Dakota Department of Social Services
700 Governors Drive, Kneip Building
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Phone: (605) 773-3495
NAMD Region:  II

Dr. Jennifer Lee
Virginia Department of Medical Assistance
600 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-8099
NAMD Region:  IV

Dr. Wendy Long
Director, Bureau of TennCare
Deputy Commissioner
Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration
310 Great Circle Road
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 507-6443
NAMD Region:  III

MaryAnne Lindeblad
Washington Health Care Authority
626 8th Avenue, PO Box 45502
Olympia, WA 98504-5050
Phone: (360) 725-1040
NAMD Region:  I

West Virginia
Cynthia Beane
Commissioner, Bureau of Medical Services
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
350 Capitol Street, Room 251
Charleston, WV 25301-3706
Phone: (304) 558-1700
NAMD Region:  IV

Heather Smith
Medicaid Director
Division Administrator, Health Care Access and Accountability
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
1 West Wilson Street, Room 350, PO Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309
Phone: (608) 266-1271
NAMD Region:  II

Teri Green
State Medicaid Agent
Wyoming Department of Health
6101 Yellowstone Road, Suite 210
Cheyenne, WY 82009
Phone: (307) 777-7531
NAMD Region:  I

Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services
123 Chalan Kareta
Mangilao, GU 96913-6304
Phone: (671) 735-7293
NAMD Region:  Territory

Helen Sablan
Medicaid Director
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CM)
Caller Box 10007
Saipan, CM 96950

Phone: (670) 664-4890
NAMD Region:  Territory

Luz E. Cruz-Romero
Executive Director
PR Medicaid Program
Puerto Rico Department of Health
PO Box 70184
San Juan, PR 00936-8184
Phone: (787) 765-2929 ext. 6700
NAMD Region:  Territory

Gary A. Smith
Medicaid Program
Department of Human Services
1303 Hospital Grand
Khud Hansen Complex, Building A
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
Phone: (340) 774-0930 ext. 4353
NAMD Region:  Territory

DJ Jaffe is Executive Director of the non-partisan Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He is a critic of the mental health industry for ignoring the seriously ill, and has been advocating for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness for over 30 years. He has written op-eds on the intersection of mental health and criminal justice policy for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post. New York Magazine has credited him with being the driving force behind the passage of New York’s Kendra’s Law and Congress incorporated ideas proposed by DJ in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.