Healthcare Business News

CMS announces initiatives to aid states

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: April 14, 2011 - 3:15 pm ET

The CMS on Thursday announced four initiatives intended to offer states greater flexibility and efficiency regarding Medicaid.

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The CMS issued a proposed rule (PDF) designed to reduce administrative requirements for states so they can help people with disabilities choose to live in communities instead of institutions.

Also Thursday, the CMS issued a final rule (PDF) that would provide 90% of the cost for states to both develop and upgrade their information technology systems to help people enroll in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program and 75% of ongoing operational costs. According to the agency, this increase over the previous federal matching rate of 50% is intended to help states prepare for the Medicaid expansion that will come in 2014 as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The regulation also establishes performance standards that the CMS says are meant to promote greater efficiency and a “more consumer-friendly enrollment process.”

CMS also announced an initiative—funded by last year's healthcare law—in which 15 states will receive (link has been updated with a clarification from HHS) up to $1 million each to create new ways for meeting the needs of the so-called dual-eligible population, or those Americans who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has approved a demonstration for New Jersey to expand healthcare coverage for almost 70,000 low-income people through the Work First New Jersey program.

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