Oceans Healthcare Lauds Mississippi Legislature for Expanding Access, Coverage for Behavioral Health Services

Apr 25th, 2019

BILOXI, Miss. – (April 25, 2019) – With a bill signed this week, the state of Mississippi took a significant step to ensure access and coverage to much-needed behavioral health services for some of its most vulnerable citizens.

Governor Phil Bryant signed into law Senate Bill 2268 authorizing the Division of Medicaid to reimburse for services provided to beneficiaries by licensed freestanding psychiatric hospitals. Previously, such services would not have been covered due to a long-standing federal provision known as the Institutions for Mental Disease or “IMD” exclusion.

The IMD exclusion prohibited Medicaid from reimbursing for care for adults ages 21 to 64 in hospitals or treatment facilities with more than 16 beds that provide mental health or substance use care.

“We were beyond grateful to lend our support for this bill and for the opportunity to work with elected officials who prioritize helping individuals access mental health care when they need it most,” said Stuart Archer, Oceans Healthcare CEO. “Because of the IMD exclusion, individuals often end up held in emergency rooms and jails, ultimately delaying much-needed care for those in acute crisis and creating a financial burden for state and local communities.”

Statewide data show Mississippi is experiencing the strain of an overburdened mental health system combined with increasing need. In 2017, Mississippi was one of three states in the country with the least access to care and the highest rates of imprisonment. Since 2014, calls to Mississippi’s Mobile Crisis Response teams have increased nearly 180 percent and face-to-face visits have increased more than 580 percent.

“Without the keen foresight of Rep. Brice Wiggin, who brought this legislation to fruition, vulnerable Mississippians would continue to suffer needlessly,” Archer said. “Mental health treatment is best delivered with compassion in a safe, comfortable setting and this bill will make that a reality now for many more Mississippians.”

Oceans Healthcare opened Oceans Behavioral Hospital Biloxi earlier this year following the acquisition of the behavioral health operations of Merit Health Biloxi. Their health care complex located at 180 Debuys Rd. includes a 45-bed inpatient hospital, an outpatient clinic and therapeutic day school.

Seated: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Front Row, L to R: Charlie Williams, Williams Strategies; Laura Tarantino, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Oceans Healthcare; Stuart Archer, CEO, Oceans Healthcare; Cliff Hermes, Administrator, Oceans Behavioral Hospital Biloxi. Back Row, L to R:Dr. Jim Rush, Medical Director, Oceans Behavioral Hospital Biloxi; F. Cliff Kirkland, Chief Development Officer, City of Biloxi; Scott Gressett, Chief Financial Officer, Oceans Healthcare; Daryl Doise, Executive Vice President of Growth and Strategy, Oceans Healthcare; James Cox, Cox Law Group; Ted Thompson, Thompson & Associates, LLC; Jim Thompson, Thompson & Associates, LLC; Frank Genzer, WHLC Architecture


Oceans Healthcare is a nationally recognized behavioral health provider focused on healing and long-term recovery. Founded in 2004, Oceans provides inpatient and outpatient treatment with a special focus on the unique physical and emotional needs of older adults and seniors. The company has 29 locations across three states, and was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years. For more information, visit www.oceanshealthcare.com.                                   


Media Contact:

Amanda Anderson | amanda@lovell.com 


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