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CMS dials up investment in Medicaid IT

Agency releases new resources to spur innovation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is investing more in Medicaid IT, funneling $5 billion a year into helping states improve their systems.

In addition to those funds, CMS also is creating a place to find resources to start the work, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt writes in a blog post.

The newly launched Medicaid program resource "will help private sector companies identify opportunities to participate in this important market," Slavitt writes. The website will allow vendors to find links to state Medicaid sites and IT requests for proposals.

CMS wants to seek advances such as evolving changing Medicaid IT systems into "reusable solutions" and moving financial incentives away from custom development so that there is more room for smaller vendors to take part.

When it comes to innovation in the payer space, there often are barriers to new IT. Medicaid directors cite factors such as limited staffing, data and systems infrastructures, administrative budgets and complex procurement processes as problems, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

CMS will also provide guidance documents, including new certification process for Medicaid systems as well as a Request for Information geared toward the vendor space on how to invest in technology

"The improvements that come from this will not only provide consumers with a better experience, they will improve the fairness of our system, the efficiency of how care delivery works and the health of our nation," Slavitt writes.

As of 2014, states had spent $1.8 billion to upgrade their eligibility information technology systems, but still faced implementation challenges, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated at the time that through the Affordable Care Act, 12 million more people could be enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by this year, but many states' IT systems lacked the technical capacity to handle that level of enrollment.

To learn more:
- here's the blog post
- check out the new resources

Related Articles: 
States still experiencing problems with Medicaid IT system upgrades
Survey of Medicaid directors shows innovations in state programs
How MCO rules update could lead to better data collection, better care