Blackburn, Thune, Hassan, Introduce the SAVE IMD Options Act

October 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), introduced the Securing Advances and a Variety of Evidence-Based (SAVE) Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Options Act. The bipartisan legislation would establish a permanent state plan option in Medicaid that allows states to provide patients between the ages of 21 to 64 with substance use disorder treatment in IMD.

“Since 2021, Tennessee has leveraged the Institutions for Mental Diseases state option to deliver critical treatment and support to individuals suffering from substance use disorders. Making this state option permanent and breaking down barriers to comprehensive care would be a major step in the right direction as we address substance use disorders across our nation,” said Senator Blackburn.

“As the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders continue to devastate families and communities across South Dakota and the country, it is critical for patients to have access to treatment services. South Dakota has relied on a state plan option in Medicaid to provide these services for the past five years, and it is critical that patients do not lose access to this life-saving care,” said Senator Thune.

“Medicaid recipients deserve access to short-term inpatient care at addiction treatment facilities, which can be lifesaving. As we continue to work on ways to expand mental health care and support for people struggling with opioid use, the bipartisan legislation that Senators Thune, Blackburn, and I are introducing today will help more people get the treatment that they need and deserve,” said Senator Hassan.

“The state mental health commissioners have historically been – and remain – strongly supportive of non-discriminatory Medicaid financing for the full continuum of care for persons with mental health and substance use disorders encompassing outpatient care, intensive intermediate services and inpatient or residential treatment. We applaud Senators Thune, Blackburn, and Hassan for their leadership in the introduction of this important legislation,” said Dr. Brian Hepburn, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.


  • Current law does not allow federal Medicaid funds to be used for those patients at IMD, which include hospitals, nursing facilities, or other institutions with more than 16 beds that provide care for mental health diseases, including substance use disorder.
Text of the legislation can be here.