The CMS has awarded Texas a 15-month extension waiver that will help cover the unpaid bills of Medicaid-eligible and uninsured patients in the state.
The waiver provides $4 billion a year for the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program, which covers providers' uncompensated-care bills. It also includes a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, or DSRIP, which encourages providers to adopt innovative programs that raise the quality and cost-effectiveness of care.
The waiver was originally set to expire at the end of September, but it will now continue through Dec. 31, 2017. The extension prolongs a standoff between Texas and the White House, which was hoping to see the state expand Medicaid instead.
The state's hospitals rejoiced at the news. “Failure to extend the 1115 waiver would have resulted in near-catastrophic consequences for the state's most vulnerable populations,” said Ted Shaw, CEO of the Texas Hospital Association, in a statement.
The state had initially sought a five-year renewal of the waiver, but CMS officials appeared to reject that request.
In a meeting last month, Chris Traylor, Texas Health and Human Services executive commissioner, told state lawmakers that he was optimistic about the short-term extension. Soon after, his department sent a letter to the CMS warning that without the extension millions of Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured would lose access to care as providers lost billions of dollars in reimbursement. —Virgil Dickson