CMS strengthens decentralization push, gives states more Medicaid authority

CMS strengthens decentralization push, gives states more Medicaid authority

Aiming to cut down on regulatory burdens and give more power to states, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is making notable changes to the Medicaid program, the biggest source of payment for nursing homes.

CMS issued a bulletin late Thursday, outlining “significant improvements” for streamlining Medicaid review processes and reducing approval times. The agency also announced some early results, following other Medicaid fixups that it instituted last year — which included a 23% decrease in the Median approval time for Medicaid state plan amendments.

“With faster processing times and earlier communication, states now have much greater ability to manage their programs in an effective and predictable manner,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press statement. “We want to ease bureaucratic requirements for both states and our own staff so that we can focus those resources on improving health outcomes rather than pushing paperwork.”

An agency bulletin issued Thursday said it is piloting a new “expedited” review path whereby a certain cohort of state plan amendments will be adjudicated through a streamlined review process. In addition, CMS says that is implementing new procedures that will prevent backlogs of amendments to formal requests for additional information.

In late 2017, CMS issued a similar bulletin, outlining four other ways it was hoping to speed up Medicaid. In its announcement last week, the agency touted successes so far, with 84% of Medicaid state plan amendments approved within the first 90-day review period the first quarter of this year. That represents a 20% increase over calendar year 2016.

Source: McKnight’s

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