CMS Approves Second Request for 1135 Medicaid Waiver

Alerts / March 21, 2020

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved its second request for a Medicaid waiver under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. Washington was the second state (following Florida) to submit a request for a Medicaid waiver due to COVID-19. The state requested the waiver on Mar. 15, detailing various federal Medicaid and Medicare requirements posing challenges for counties throughout the state of Washington. CMS granted a retroactive waiver, effective Mar. 1.

Washington’s approval letter granted several flexibilities, including waiving prior authorization requirements; allowing evacuating facilities to provide services in alternative settings, such as a temporary shelter when a provider’s facility is inaccessible; and modifying the time frame for certain state fair hearing requests and appeals. The approval letter can be found here.

CMS indicated it will continue to “expeditiously review and approve as appropriate” all Section 1135 waivers the agency receives. CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated, “We are committed to stripping away any red tape that gets in the way of states or providers effectively managing this public health emergency.”

Authorship Credit: Charlene McGinty and Maureen Furino

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