CMS aims to expand technology, information sharing among all Medicaid providers

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In an effort to bridge the "information-sharing gap in Medicaid," the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS), announced an initiative that permits states to request the 90 percent enhanced matching funds from CMS to connect a broader variety of Medicaid providers to a health information exchange (HIE).

"The great promise of technology is to bring information to our fingertips, connect us to one another, improve our productivity and create a platform for the next generation of innovations," wrote CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. "Technology, when widely distributed and available, enables providers to improve patient care by distributing information and best practices and leading to better experiences of care for individuals in the healthcare system. And technology can make a significant difference in the rapidly modernizing Medicaid program."

The broader variety of Medicaid providers includes long-term care, behavioral health providers, substance abuse treatment centers and other providers that have been slower to adopt technology. This additional funding will enhance the sustainability of HIEs and lead to increased connectivity among Medicaid providers.   

This is more than a technology initiative, Slavitt said. "It is part of a comprehensive effort to make sure that the 72 million adults, children, seniors and people with disabilities served by the Medicaid program have access to high quality, coordinated care. Improving population health and addressing the needs of complex populations requires strong health information technology tools."

Aside from improving care coordination and patient outcomes, CMS also expects this investment to speed the adoption of alternative payment models that focus on the quality rather than the quantity of care provided. As the Medicaid program moves towards paying for quality, technology infrastructure and information exchange is needed for better care coordination.

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