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CMS Speeds Up Medicaid Review Process

The federal government has greatly increased the speed with which it is reviewing and approving state applications to modify their Medicaid programs.

Most often, such applications involve Medicaid state plan amendments and section 1915 waiver requests.

According to a recent post on the CMS blog (in CMS’s own words),

  • Between calendar years 2016 and 2018, there was a 16 percent decrease in the median approval time for Medicaid SPAs [note:  state plan amendments].
  • Seventy-eight percent of SPAs were approved within the first 90 day review period during calendar year 2018, a 14 percent increase over 2016.
  • Between calendar year 2016 and 2018, median approval times for 1915(b) waivers decreased by 11 percent, 1915(c) renewal approval times decreased by 38 percent, and 1915(c) amendment approval times decreased by 28 percent.
  • The backlog of pending SPA and 1915 waiver actions pending additional information from the states was reduced 80 percent from previous years.

Learn more in the CMS blog entry “CMS Streamlines Medicaid Review Process and Reduces Approval Times so States Can More Effectively Manage Their Programs.”

CMS Unveils Medicaid “Scorecard”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had introduced a new “Medicaid scorecard” that the agency says it hopes will “…increase public transparency about the programs’ administration and outcomes.”

The scorecard, now posted on the Medicaid web site, presents information and data from the federal government, and reported voluntarily by the states, in three areas:  state health system performance, state administrative accountability, and federal administrative accountability.

The scorecard currently offers information on selected health and program indicators.  Visitors can see comparative data between states and also extensive information about individual state Medicaid programs, including eligibility criteria, enrollment, quality performance, and key state documents such as state plan amendments, waivers, and managed care program overviews.  The site also presents individual state and comparative state performance based on a variety of metrics while also reporting on federal turnaround time on matters such as waiver requests and rate reviews.  CMS envisions the scorecard evolving from year to year by offering more and different information.

Go here to see a CMS fact sheet on the new Medicaid scorecard and go here to visit the scorecard’s home page.