Arkansas: DHS Director Pledges to Fix Medicaid Backlog

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will clear a backlog of more than 100,000 Medicaid cases—including outstanding eligibility determinations, renewals, and change of circumstance requests—by December 2016, according to DHS Director Cindy Gillespie. DHS will contract with outside firms to provide temporary caseworkers and reassign staff to focus on the most complex cases. The federal government will fund 75% of the effort, with the State responsible for the remaining $2.1 million in costs.

Michigan: Legislature Seeks to Restructure State Medicaid Financing

The Senate voted on a series of bills (S.B. 987-990) that would annul the Health Insurance Claims Assessment, or "HICA Tax," create a new version of the State’s Medicaid managed care Use Tax, and divert income tax revenue to support Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). The HICA Tax, a 0.75% tax on health insurance claims paid by individuals and businesses, currently helps finance the State’s share of Medicaid programs and supplements the existing Medicaid managed care Use Tax, which the federal government indicated will no longer be eligible for federal matching funds after December 31, 2016. The new bills would divert income tax revenue to the Medicaid Benefits Trust Fund to support Medicaid MCOs and establish a “Health Services Fund” supported by a new tax on MCOs for non-Medicaid health programs. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Insurance for review.

New Jersey: State Begins 1115 Waiver Renewal Process

The Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) declared their intent to renew the Section 1115 Waiver under which the State administers its FamilyCare programs (Medicaid). Under the Waiver renewal, the State seeks to continue funding for its Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, enhance value-based purchasing strategies, streamline eligibility and enrollment, increase care coordination for dual eligible individuals, and expand managed care to include long-term services and supports. The State will present the Waiver proposal during the Medical Assistance Advisory Council meeting on June 15 and at other stakeholder meetings during the month long public comment period. The current Waiver expires in June 2017; if approved, the new Waiver will be effective from July 2017 to June 2022.

Ohio: Home and Community-Based Services Transition Waiver Approved

Ohio received approval for its plan to provide people with disabilities more options for receiving home and community-based services (HCBS). CMS revised regulations around Medicaid HCBS State Plan benefits in 2014, requiring states to "maximize opportunities for individuals to have access to the benefits of community living and the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting." In accordance with CMS regulations, Ohio submitted a transition plan under which individuals receiving HCBS services will move from programs in institutional settings to day treatment, day care, and community-based jobs. Plan approval was a priority for Ohio, which stood to lose 60% of program funding if it failed to comply with CMS regulations by 2019.