Friday Five: CMS improving efforts to prevent Medicaid fraud & reducing approval time for waivers

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August 24, 2018
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about how Medicaid impacts opioid treatment, reduced wait times for waiver approvals, program integrity recommendations, increasing SNAP income eligibility, and government social media efforts.

1. Medicaid expansion under the ACA increased access to opioid use disorder treatments

A recent study found that Medicaid expansion had increased access to substance abuse treatment for those covered under the program. According to Clinical Pain Advisor, the percentage of prescriptions filled for buprenorphine with naloxone (a medication used to treat opioid addiction) increased at a higher rate in areas that had expanded Medicaid access than those that had not.

2. CMS touts quicker Medicaid waiver process

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that they have decreased approval wait times for state plan amendments (SPAs) by 23%, compared to 2016. Healthcare Dive reports that CMS issued guidance to improve wait times back in November and has been working with health care organizations and states on ways to improve the process for both SPAs and Section 1115 waivers, the typical vehicles states use to request changes to their Medicaid programs.

3. Medicaid: CMS has taken steps to address program risks but further actions needed to strengthen program integrity

The Government Accountability Office issued a follow-up report this week on steps CMS has taken to address recommendations, originally issued in June, to help the Medicaid program reduce improper payments and protect against fraud. Those recommendations included improving data, implementing a fraud-risk strategy and increasing collaboration. The GAO found that CMS has made inroads, but still has further to go, and will continue monitoring progress.

4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) changes income eligibility rule

Colorado is increasing its income eligibility requirements for SNAP to 200% from 130% of the federal poverty level. According to Denver7, the increase could benefit 100,000 families, in addition to the 200,000 currently participating in the program, and allow individuals in low-wage jobs to receive a raise or extra shifts without losing eligibility for food assistance.

5. Are federal agencies doing enough with social media?

Government employees reported in a recent survey that most federal agencies have room for improvement in their social media efforts. This article from FCW breaks down some key results: fewer than half of employees thought their agency had a clear plan for the future of social media and many reported challenges such as a skills/training gap, lack of staff time, and available technology. In a more positive view, more than half thought social media helped them gain a better understanding of citizens’ needs.