Senior living operators historically have not been involved in psychiatric care. But that soon could change. The reason: A recent Medicaid coverage expansion could lead to new business opportunities, a new report suggests.

In the past, Medicaid did not cover most inpatient adult mental health treatment in campuses with 17 or more beds. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is now allowing states to lift the long-standing exclusion for larger communities. That could create a new funding stream for organizations willing to deliver psychiatric care services, Bloomberg reports.

At a time when mental health advocates are seeking more care and senior living operators are wrestling with declining occupancy rates, the result could be an enhanced or adjusted business model for bigger operators, several experts noted.

The coming flexibility, however, is not likely to provide an instant cash spike, as states’ new payment systems are required to be budget neutral. Still, some observers believe the mere possibility of additional funding likely will attract some senior living organizations.

Whether such a shift will take root should start to become apparent in the months ahead, when states begin seeking permission from CMS to pay for inpatient treatments with Medicaid dollars.