Wash­ing­ton state re­ceives ten­ta­tive OK for ‘ac­count­able health com­mu­ni­ties’ waiver

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dick­son

The CMS has granted Wash­ing­ton state pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval to over­haul its Med­i­caid pro­gram. As part of the five-year waiver, for which it will re­ceive $1.5 bil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing, the state will launch de­liv­ery-sys­tem re­form ini­tia­tives, lever­age part­ner­ships be­tween providers and so­cial groups and ex­pand op­tions for longterm ser­vices and sup­ports. The “ac­count­able health com­mu­ni­ties” model aims to ad­dress is­sues such as hous­ing in­sta­bil­ity and qual­ity, food in­se­cu­rity, util­i­ties and trans­porta­tion.

The ap­proval is ex­pected to be fi­nal­ized in the next few weeks once the state and the CMS hash out spe­cial terms and con­di­tions.

State of­fi­cials ap­plied for the waiver as a way to help ad­dress Wash­ing­ton’s bal­loon­ing Med­i­caid pop­u­la­tion, which jumped nearly 60% since 2013 to 1.7 mil­lion en­rollees, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral data. Med­i­caid spend­ing rose from about $7.8 bil­lion to $10.4 bil­lion dur­ing the same period.

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