RISE looks at the latest actions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help state Medicaid agencies respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

13 states receive Medicaid Section 1135 waivers in response to COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it has approved an additional 11 state Medicaid waiver requests under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act.

CMS granted the waivers to Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia. It had previously approved waivers for Washington and Florida.

The waivers relieve state Medicaid plans from having to follow federal regulations from prior authorization, provider enrollment requirement, and certain nursing home pre-admission reviews. “These waivers give a broad range of states the regulatory relief and support they need to more quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in the announcement.

The waivers are effective as of March 1 and will end upon termination of the public health emergency, including any extensions.

CMS releases 4 new COVID-19 tools to support state Medicaid and CHIP programs during COVID-19 outbreak

The agency has created four checklists to speed up states’ access to emergency flexibilities and resources.

The four tools will allow states to access emergency administrative relief, make temporary modifications to Medicaid eligibility and benefit requirements, relax rules to ensure that individuals with disabilities and the elderly can be effectively served in their homes, and modify payment rules to support health care providers impacted by the outbreak. The tools can also help states quickly remove state-specific restrictions on telehealth.

“CMS is making it easier and faster for state Medicaid agencies to get the regulatory relief and additional support they need to respond as rapidly and effectively as possible to protect their most vulnerable residents from this disease,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in the announcement.

The tools include a:

1115 Waiver Opportunity and Application Checklist

1135 Waiver Checklist

1915(c) Appendix K Template

Medicaid Disaster State Plan Amendment Template