Health Law Highlights

Medicaid: CMS Final Rules Aim to Expand Access, Provide Parity with Commercial Markets

Summary of article from Foley & Lardner LLP, by Anil Shankar:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced two significant updates to its Medicaid regulations on May 10, 2024: the Medicaid Access Rule and the Medicaid Managed Care Rule. These updates aim to enhance and standardize reporting, monitoring, and evaluation of Medicaid services, potentially increasing Medicaid reimbursement. The new rules require states and Medicaid managed care plans to report and analyze payment rates and access to services, and to implement corrective action plans for identified access deficiencies. The Managed Care Rule introduces federal “appointment wait time” standards and allows states to increase Medicaid reimbursement to match commercial plan rates. Lastly, the Access Rule establishes a numerical floor for Medicaid rates and requires at least 80% of Medicaid payments to home and community-based service providers to be spent on direct care workers’ compensation.

Health Law Highlights

CMS Finalizes Major Reforms to Medicaid, Part 1: Medicaid Access Reg

Summary of article from McDermott+Consulting, by Jeffrey Davis, Kayla Holgash, Katie Waldo:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued two new regulations pertaining to state-operated Medicaid programs, aiming to improve access to care for Medicaid enrollees. A notable policy within the ‘Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services’ regulation specifies that at least 80% of Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) and managed care payments for home- and community-based services (HCBS) must be allocated towards compensation for direct care workers. The regulation also introduces new definitions, allows for state-specific flexibilities, and outlines reporting requirements for states. Other key provisions include the establishment of a grievance process for beneficiaries, regular review of person-centered service plans, and the creation of a Beneficiary Advisory Council. The regulation will take effect 60 days after publication, but specific provisions have varied effective dates.

Health Law Highlights

CMS Finalizes its Proposal to Advance Interoperability and Improve Prior Authorization Processes

From Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, by Gianfranco Spinelli and Krysten Thomas:

  • Final Rule Issued by CMS: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule titled “CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization” on January 17, 2024, which aims to advance interoperability and improve prior authorization processes. This rule impacts Medicare Advantage organizations, state Medicaid and CHIP agencies, Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans, and plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, as well as MIPS eligible clinicians, and eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals.
  • Patient Access API: The final rule requires Impacted Payers to provide patients access to certain information, including claims, cost sharing data, encounter data, and a set of clinical data accessible via health applications. The implementation of this requirement is set for January 1, 2027, which is a change from the original proposed date of January 1, 2026.
  • Provider Access API and Payer-to-Payer API: The rule mandates Impacted Payers to build and maintain a Provider Access API for data sharing with in-network providers. It also requires a Payer-to-Payer API to ensure patients can maintain continuity of care and have uninterrupted access to their health data. Both these requirements are to be implemented by January 1, 2027.
  • Prior Authorization API and Process Improvements: CMS finalized the proposal to require Impacted Payers to build and maintain a Prior Authorization API, which is to be implemented by January 1, 2027. The rule also shortens the time frames for prior authorization decisions and requires Impacted Payers to provide a specific reason for denied decisions. These requirements are to be complied with by January 1, 2026.
  • Public Reporting and Electronic Prior Authorization Measure: The final rule requires Impacted Payers to publicly report certain prior authorization metrics, with the initial set of metrics to be reported by March 31, 2026. It also mandates MIPS eligible clinicians, eligible hospitals, and CAHs to report the number of prior authorizations for medical items and services requested electronically from a Prior Authorization API.
Health Law Highlights

CMS Issues Interim Rule in Response to State Medicaid Disenrollment Trend

From Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, by Shane Duer, Knicole Emanuel, Cara Ludwig:

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an interim rule in response to the trend of states disenrolling recipients from the Medicaid program.
  • The rule aims to limit the removal of recipients from the program for procedural reasons rather than eligibility considerations.
  • States that fail to comply with the rule may face enforcement actions, including submitting a corrective action plan and paying civil money penalties.
  • The rule also requires states to submit reports on their eligibility redetermination activities, which will be made public.
  • The regulations became effective on December 6, 2023.