CMS announces interoperability initiative for Medicaid providers

Dive Brief:

  • A joint blog Wednesday by CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and HHS Acting Assistant Secretary, announced a new inititave aimed at modernizing and connecting the Medicaid program. 
  • The initiative will allow states to request the 90% enhanced matching funds from CMS to connect a wider variety of Medicaid providers, such as long-term care, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment centers, to a health information exchange.
  • The blog suggests the funding will both increase connectivity among Medicaid providers, and improve the sustainability of health information exchanges.

Dive Insight:

The blog highlights that the initiative is not just about technology, but about better serving Mediciad beneficiaries and improving population health. It notes that the flow of information that physicians depend upon in making decisions is incomplete when some physicians and practice areas are unconnected.

Expanding the umbrella to include behavioral health and substance abuse treatment providers will make for more seamless, complete, and timely data sharing to allow providers to determine the best courses of treatment for their Medicaid patients.

The announcement comes after Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) Vikki Wachino sent a letter to state Medicaid directors saying CMS had the ability of providing states with 90% matching federal funds for these providers. 

"Today’s announcement is another example of how Medicaid is leading change for its beneficiaries and throughout the health care system," Slavitt and DeSalvo wrote in the blog post. 

"It is part of a comprehensive effort to make sure that the 72 million adults, children, seniors and people with disabilities served by the Medicaid program have access to high quality, coordinated care."

Filed Under: Health IT
Top image credit: jannoon028