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May 30. 2014 8:56PM

NH submits Medicaid waiver amounting to $275 million to feds

CONCORD — The state Friday officially asked the Center of Medicaid Services for $275 million over five years to help pay for medical services provided by the state, counties and municipalities.

The waiver request, which is required as part of the Medicaid expansion program or the NH Health Protection Program, seeks federal matching funds for about $80 million a year in health care services the state, counties and local governments currently provide and would have to continue to provide under the five-year period.

The new federal money would be used to reform the state’s Medicaid program by bumping up Medicaid rates paid to hospitals and community mental health centers, enhancing the state’s mental health system, instituting substance abuse treatment and an oral health program.

“Submitting this waiver is a critical step forward that will help build on our efforts to strengthen the health and financial well-being of New Hampshire families, businesses and communities,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said. “It complements the implementation of our historic bipartisan health care plan and Medicaid Care Management, while also strengthening our efforts to address pressing mental health and substance use challenges, and I urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid to approve it as quickly as possible.”

Once a federal comment period is held, the state and CMS will begin negotiating an agreement based on the request.

In order to receive federal approval, the state has to show the federal government would pay no more than it would in paying half of the cost of the local programs.

“The department’s health reform efforts are focused on promoting population health, expanding access to health care, and serving the whole person through enhanced consumer directed care,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This waiver submission will further our health reform efforts and build capacity in key areas such as behavioral health and substance use disorder services.”

grayno@unionleader.com


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