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HHS ANNOUNCES NEW POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR MEDICAID AND AFDC

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced today that the department is planning to adopt new policies and procedures to make the Medicaid and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) waiver review process "faster and simpler" for state governments.
 The department's "section 1115" waiver authority allows the approval of selected state health reform and welfare reform demonstration programs. Although the authority granted HHS under section 1115 of the Social Security Act has been used to approve a number of innovative demonstration programs, over the years the approval procedures have sometimes been seen as inefficient and time-consuming.
 In February, President Clinton promised the National Governors Association "relief from the cumbersome process."
 "These internal policies and procedures are a major step toward fulfilling President Clinton's goal of giving states more flexibility in their management of joint federal-state programs, while maintaining the department's commitment to provide quality services to our beneficiaries," Shalala said.
 Under the new policies and procedures HHS is planning to:
 -- establish concurrent, rather than sequential, review of waivers
 by HHS divisions;
 -- assess cost neutrality over the life of the proposed
 demonstration program instead of year by year;
 -- allow waivers to test the same or related policy considerations
 in more than one state;
 -- consider joint Medicaid-Medicare waivers, as well as joint
 AFDC-Medicaid waivers; and
 -- allow demonstrations of sufficient duration to give the new
 policy approaches a fair test.
 The department also announced plans to make similar improvements in the approval process for Freedom of Choice (FOC) and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers, which are used to allow state experiments with managed care and long-term care. Under the new policies the department will make only one formal request for additional information on HCBS waiver applications and make other changes to simplify those approvals.
 HHS may still disapprove any request on legal or policy grounds and will require states to conform with national health reform and welfare reform legislation. President Clinton is expected to propose a health care reform plan and a welfare reform plan this fall.
 HHS has also agreed to work with the states on additional policy changes which require federal legislation.
 -0- 8/18/93
 /CONTACT: Melissa Skolfield of the Department of Health and Human Services, 202-690-6853/


CO: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: EXE

KD-IH -- DC019 -- 3997 08/18/93 15:10 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 18, 1993
Words:407
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