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Analysis

Washington State's 1135 Medicaid Waiver Approved

By John Commins  
   March 20, 2020

CMS says the waiver will give state governments more flexibility to respond to the epidemic.

Washington, one of the hardest hit states for the coronavirus, on Thursday became the second state in as many days to receive an 1135 Medicaid waiver from the federal government help fight the pandemic.

The 1135 waiver allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to waive some requirements in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP that give state Medicaid agencies flexibility and remove red tape that can hamper access to needed services.

The waiver: streamlines provider enrollment processes; allows care to be provided in alternative settings in unlicensed facilities if a licensed facility is evacuated; waives prior authorization requirements;  suspends some nursing home screening requirements to provide necessary administrative relief; and extends deadlines for appeals and state fair hearing requests.

"I recognize that Governor (Jay) Inslee and his team are working around the clock to respond to the escalating crisis in Washington State," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a media release.

"We are committed to stripping away any red tape that gets in the way of states or providers effectively managing this public health emergency," she said.

The streamlined review process for the waiver, which Verma said was submitted by Washington on March 15, came just days after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

Earlier this week, Florida became the first state to be approved for a Section 1135 waiver to respond to the COVID-19 national emergency.

"Florida is acutely focused on eliminating unnecessary barriers on our healthcare providers who are on the front lines serving our communities most impacted by COVID-19," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a media release. 

CMS says it expects other states to apply for the waiver.

“We are committed to stripping away any red tape that gets in the way of states or providers effectively managing this public health emergency.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The 1135 waiver gives Medicaid agencies flexibility and remove red tape that can hamper access to needed services.

Earlier this week, Florida became the first state to get a Section 1135 waiver to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.


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