KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

CMS Offers Cash To Aid States In Care Coordination For ‘Dual Eligibles’

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services announced four initiatives Thursday that are designed to assist cash-strapped states with funding and flexibility issues.

National Journal: HHS Offers Cash To States For Medicaid
Federal health officials offered a lifeline Thursday to cash-strapped states struggling to fund their share of Medicaid and children's health programs. In a handful of proposed and final rules, the Department of Health and Human Services pledged $15 million from the year-old reform law to 15 states that are developing new ways to coordinate and improve care of "dual-eligibles." These are often hard-to-treat people with low incomes who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS also said it would help defray 90 percent of costs that states incur as they upgrade their computer systems ahead of a major jump in Medicaid and children's health enrollment in 2014. On the back end, the government will fund 75 percent of costs to keep those computers up and running (DoBias, 4/14).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Announces Initiatives To Aid States
The CMS on Thursday announced four initiatives intended to offer states greater flexibility and efficiency regarding Medicaid. The CMS issued a proposed rule 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 that would provide 90 percent 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 percent of ongoing operational costs. ... The regulation also establishes performance standards that the CMS says are meant to promote greater efficiency and a "more consumer-friendly enrollment process" (Zigmond, 4/14).

In other Medicaid news, the AP does some fact checking regarding Mississippi's program.

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Barbour Medicaid Claim Off Base
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, played fast and loose with his state's Medicaid enrollment numbers this week as he spoke in Washington and chatted up voters in the early primary state of New Hampshire (Pettus, 4/14).

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