Healthcare Business News

Funding deal approved for Ariz. KidsCare program

By Rich Daly
Posted: April 8, 2012 - 2:00 pm ET

Arizona can resume coverage for children eligible through its state-federal insurance program for the poor under a new funding arrangement approved by the CMS.

The Arizona State Children's Health Insurance Plan, known as KidsCare, stopped enrolling new children on Jan. 1, 2010 as part of the state's push to close a budget gap.

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The two-year deal, which was approved by the CMS on April 6, replaces state funding with money from three state hospital groups to allow the program to add nearly 22,000 new enrollees, according to federal and state officials. The hospitals involved—Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Maricopa Integrated Health System and the University of Arizona Health Network—provided about $110 million in local government funds to garner more than $220 million from the federal government.

“This is the kind of innovative collaboration that can help us address our most urgent health needs without blowing a hole in the state budget,” Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said in a news release.

The agreement is an amended version of funding proposal for the program that Brewer and Arizona hospitals submitted to the CMS in November 2011. Federal officials eventually accepted the plan once it was amended to restart new enrollments in the program.

“With these changes, Arizona and CMS are helping vulnerable populations receive the care they need,” Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the CMS, said in e-mailed comments.

Another related hospital funding deal will use $20 million in gaming revenue from tribal casinos to draw down $13 million in federal funds to reimburse hospitals in the state for the cost of the uncompensated care they provide.

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