Capitol Correspondence - 06.29.21

New Head of Medicaid Appointed, and More CMS Updates

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To keep our members abreast of key decision-makers in the Biden administration, as well as resources developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we flag the following items:

A Massachusetts official will head the Biden Administration’s Medicaid office: “Daniel Tsai, assistant secretary of MassHealth, is leaving his post to join the Biden administration, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services said Monday. Tsai was appointed deputy administrator for the Center for Medicaid and Medicaid Services and director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services”, MassLive reports. Tsai will serve under CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

CMS granted most states an extension on implementation plans for temporary HCBS FMAP bump. “Forty-two states reportedly have applied and been approved for extensions to submit to CMS their initial spending plans and narratives required to access the increased federal Medicaid matching funds for home- and community-based services from the American Rescue Plan, a trend one stakeholder says was expected and isn’t likely to hurt states’ abilities to use the funds,” InsideHealthPolicy reports.

While the list of states is not yet available, the article quotes ANCOR’s Senior Director of Legislative Affairs Sarah Meek, who “said she wasn’t too concerned about the states’ requests for extensions.

‘It’s a lot of money and the guidance really hasn’t been out for very long,’ she said. ‘I’m optimistic that this means states are really taking their time to map out how they can spend this money in a way that will bolster their direct care workforce for the long-term and increase access to HCBS for those in need of services.’”

The Biden Administration continues to roll back Medicaid work requirements. “The administration is revoking Indiana and Arizona’s permission to impose Medicaid work requirements, in Biden’s latest move to unravel one of the most significant Trump-era health policies.

The notices quietly posted by CMS on Thursday conclude that the work rules ‘are not likely to promote the objectives’ of the Medicaid program, with Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure writing that the agency has grave concerns that, left intact, they would strip many people of their coverage,” Politico Pulse reports.

CMS releases two Medicaid managed care resources:

  • A guide on information that states must include in their managed Medicaid rate certifications to ensure that CMS can determine compliance with the applicable provisions in federal regulation and statute.
  • An Informational Bulletin to introduce a series of tools for states and CMS to utilize to improve the monitoring and oversight of managed care in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).