The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has created a seemingly paradoxical scenario for the finances of health care providers. While states were rushing to build field hospitals to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients, traditional revenue streams for providers completely dried up: elective procedures were suspended and social distancing protocols limited the number of patients in office settings. A public health crisis became a health care crisis, as COVID-19 revealed the faults in the way necessary and critical health care services are paid for in America.
Strategies for Supporting and Strengthening Medicaid Information Technology During the COVID-19 Crisis
Alice Lam and Elizabeth Dervan, Manatt Health
As states face the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, information technology (IT) is an essential tool to support access to health coverage and the safe and effective evaluation, testing, and treatment of patients nationwide. Under the current statutory and regulatory framework, state Medicaid agencies are authorized to receive federal funding for Medicaid IT and associated activities, and much of it at an enhanced federal matching level. Medicaid IT and associated activities eligible for support comprise the development, implementation and operations of states’ vast Medicaid program administrative systems and state Medicaid agency activities to facilitate adoption of electronic health records and exchange of health information by health care providers.
This issue brief outlines potential IT investments in responding to COVID-19 and strategies for states to support these investments, and to secure current and future IT investments that enable ongoing Medicaid program operations and advance health information exchange. The issue brief also highlights the Medicaid authorities and the provisions that may allow states more expeditious access and flexible use of these funds during the ongoing public health emergency and in retooling the Medicaid delivery system in this new era of pandemic.
SHVS is also hosting a companion webinar to this issue brief on Thursday, May 21.