Menendez, Pascrell Lead Delegation in Urging Trump Admin to Approve State’s Medicaid Flexibility Request to Respond to COVID-19

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Menendez, Pascrell Lead Delegation in Urging Trump Admin to Approve State’s Medicaid Flexibility Request to Respond to COVID-19

 

Flexibility will allow FQHCs, hospitals to ‘mount robust response’ to COVID-19 pandemic

 

PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today led 11 members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation in urging the Trump Administration to approve the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) March 19th request for needed flexibility in its Medicaid program to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. This waiver would ensure New Jersey’s 23 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and 71 hospitals are able to continue providing high-quality health care services to the state’s most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 outbreak that has resulted in over 700 positive cases and claimed nine lives in the state.

 

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

 

“[DHS] has determined that compliance with certain CMS requirements is not or will not be possible as COVID-19 outbreak escalates,” New Jersey’s lawmakers wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “[DHS] asks for flexibility during the emergency period to waive certain licensing, provider enrollment, allowance for FQHCs to provide telehealth services, and facility requirements. The State also requests approval of their CHIP disaster relief state plan amendment and additional flexibility in making Medicaid determinations and ensuring a robust provider network.”

 

A 1135 waiver allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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.

 

On Wednesday, led by Pascrell and Menendez, the delegation urged the Trump Administration to approve the New Jersey Department of Health’s (DOH) request for a 1135 waiver.

 

The full letter can be found here, the text of which follows.

 

March 20, 2020

 

Dear Administrator Verma and Associate Regional Administrator Reinertsen,

 

We write today in support of New Jersey’s Section 1135 waiver application that was submitted on March 19, 2020 in response to the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). New Jersey is on the front lines of the national response and the increased flexibility of the 11135 waiver provides New Jersey the ability to mount a robust response to the outbreak.

 

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 Human Services (the Department)has determined that compliance with certain CMS requirements is not or will not be possible as COVID-19 outbreak escalates. The Department asks for flexibility during the emergency period to waive certain licensing, provider enrollment, allowance for FQHCs to provide telehealth services, and facility requirements. The State also requests approval of their CHIP disaster relief state plan amendment and additional flexibility in making Medicaid determinations and ensuring a robust provider network.

 

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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