NJ Delegation in Urges Trump Admin to Approve Medicaid Flexibility Needed to Respond to COVID-19

March 18, 2020
Press Release

Press release below by Senator Menendez: 

NJ Delegation in Urges Trump Admin to Approve Medicaid Flexibility Needed to Respond to COVID-19

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) today led the New Jersey congressional delegation in a letter urging the Trump Administration to approve the State’s March 16 request for needed flexibility in its Medicaid program to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  A1135 waiver allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements to ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals affected by a national public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Along with Sen. Menendez, the letter was signed by Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowski (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Donald Payne (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.11-) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).

 

“The New Jersey Department of Health, in coordination with the state’s healthcare industry associations, has determined that compliance with certain CMS requirements is not or will not be possible as COVID-19 outbreak escalates,” the members wrote CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Examples include waiving allowing facilities to receive payments for services provided to affected beneficiaries in alternative physical settings (e.g., temporary shelters); and waiving the home health and hospice face-to-face encounter requirements, as these requirements can hinder providers’ ability to provide timely and effective care while meeting increasing demand and protecting the health of the provider workforce.”

 

The full letter can be found below and here.  

 

March 18, 2020

 

 

The Honorable Seema Verma

Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

7500 Security Blvd.

Baltimore, MD 21244

 

Ms. Lauren D. Reinertsen, M.P.A., Ph.D.

Associate Regional Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Northeast Division Survey & Certification

26 Federal Plaza, Room 37 – 130

New York, NY 10278-0063

 

Dear Administrator Verma and Associate Regional Administrator Reinertsen,

 

On behalf of New Jersey’s acute care hospitals, post-acute facilities, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and the thousands of New Jersey health care workers serving on the front lines of this unprecedented public health emergency, the undersigned members of the New Jersey congressional delegation write today to express our support of New Jersey’s Section 1135 waiver application that was submitted on March 16, 2020 in response to the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

A waiver under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements to ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals affected by a national public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The New Jersey Department of Health, in coordination with the state’s healthcare industry associations, has determined that compliance with certain CMS requirements is not or will not be possible as COVID-19 outbreak escalates. Examples include waiving allowing facilities to receive payments for services provided to affected beneficiaries in alternative physical settings (e.g., temporary shelters); and waiving the home health and hospice face-to-face encounter requirements, as these requirements can hinder providers’ ability to provide timely and effective care while meeting increasing demand and protecting the health of the provider workforce.

 

The agency requests that the Secretary waive these requirements for the duration of the national emergency. Doing so will allow providers and facilities to continue treating patients – including patients not diagnosed with COVID-19 – with minimal interruption to services. The New Jersey congressional delegation urges CMS to approve the waiver request as soon as possible to ensure that New Jersey patients are able to get the care they need.

 

We appreciate your prompt attention on this critical matter and look forward to working with you and your department to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Sincerely,

 

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