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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

CMS Launches Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program

July 17, 2014 | Medicaid | Comments
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Building on the work of the National Governor’s Association’s (NGA) Health Care Sustainability Task Force and the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week announced a new technical assistance initiative – the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP), under which the agency intends to collaborate with states to deploy innovative delivery and payment system reforms to improve the quality and reduce the cost of care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.

Under the IAP, CMS plans to invest more than $100 million to buttress states’ efforts in this vein, noting that the IAP is intended to “complemen[t] other federal-state delivery system reform efforts such as the State Innovation Models [SIM] initiative…to support states in advancing Medicaid-specific delivery system reform.” With respect to the SIM initiative, CMS notes in its letter to State Medicaid Directors that “CMS will support both SIM states, and states not currently engaged in SIM, in working to advance Medicaid innovation. The technical assistance and support that is provided to SIM states will be coordinated with IAP to make the most of the resources that are available to states in this area. The IAP investments will complement state SIM efforts in Medicaid, while the SIM initiative will continue to provide states with technical assistance and support related to broader transformation initiatives.”

CMS said that it intends to initially focus IAP technical assistance efforts to assist states via the development of resources pertaining to four key functions:

  • Identification and advancement of new models;
  • Data analytics;
  • Improved quality measurement; and
  • State-to-state learning, rapid-cycle improvement, and federal evaluation.

CMS further clarifies in the accompanying FAQs that “…the IAP is not a formal grant program for states,” and thus “there is no specific limit on the number of states that can benefit from the IAP or the new resources it makes available to states; rather, IAP resources will be deployed in the function areas discussed above and in targeted Medicaid program priority areas” – for example, prevalence of substance abuse disorder as per the agency’s informational bulletin on Medication Assisted Treatment issued last Friday.

CMS is now exploring holding several meetings across the country in late summer to brief stakeholders and get input. In the meantime, the agency solicits “initial and ongoing feedback and suggestions from states and other stakeholders via a dedicated CMS mailbox: MedicaidIAP@cms.hhs.gov. For additional information on the IAP, please see CMS’ main IAP landing page.