34 States Granted Medicaid 1135 Waivers to Fight COVID-19

By John Commins

The federal government announced Friday that 34 states have been granted expedited 1135 Medicaid waivers so far in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

The emergency provision 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 expedited waiver process was part of a national emergency declaration issued earlier this month by President Donald Trump.

“These waivers allow states to make extraordinary adjustments to their Medicaid programs to meet the unprecedented demands of this emergency,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a media release.

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.

CMS said that the average review and negotiation period usually required for 1135 waivers has been reduced from months to an average of six days after a request is submitted, owing to a streamlined application process.

So far, the states granted the 1135 waiver are: York, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Iowa, Indiana, Rhode Island, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama, California, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi Louisiana, Illinois, Washington and Florida.

CMS has also approved eight state requests to invoke emergency flexibilities in their programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes and communities.

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