This month, the Washington State Health Care Authority agreed to expand eligibility for Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) to undocumented immigrant and refugee children who are ineligible for federally funded Medicaid benefits. WISe is a program for children and young people who have significant mental health conditions and need intensive community-based supports treatment. Until now, individuals had to be eligible for federal Medicaid funding in order to participate in the WISe program, which was originally created in 2015 under a federal class action lawsuit. As WISe became available to Medicaid beneficiaries statewide, this policy has been preventing undocumented immigrant and refugee children and young people who use state-funded health insurance from having an equal opportunity to receive WISe benefits. 

After filing a Petition for Judicial Review in Thurston County Superior Court, Disability Rights Washington and Corr Cronin LLP reached a Settlement Agreement with the Health Care Authority to change this policy. The Health Care Authority has committed to changing its rules and provider billing guides over the next few months to remove the Medicaid restriction so that WISe can be a treatment resource for all children and youth covered by the State’s Apple Health program, including undocumented immigrant and refugee children and youth who are not eligible for federal Medicaid funding.

Disability Rights Washington thanks our co-counsel Corr Cronin LLP for their generous contribution to providing legal representation to our constituent, and both the Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA) and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) for lending their invaluable insights and expertise. We also thank the Health Care Authority and Washington State Attorney General’s Office for working collaboratively with us to take this important step forward.