Takes unprecedented steps to support health equity, clinical quality, safety net providers
BURLINGTON, MA – September 28, 2022 – The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) is applauding the approval of a historic 1115 Medicaid waiver, as announced today by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).
The waiver is the main agreement between Massachusetts and the federal government, outlining how the Medicaid program will be uniquely administered in the commonwealth over the next five years. The new agreement will leverage the program to funnel new and significant investments into health equity initiatives, primary care, behavioral health, and safety net providers.
Key aspects of the 1115 waiver, including health equity and support for safety net providers, are connected to a new hospital Medicaid plan that EOHHS and MHA worked in close collaboration to devise for the more than a year. These new investments are partially funded by a new hospital assessment that will support these priorities, as well as clinical quality outcomes, delivery system reforms, and addressing chronic underpayment of hospital Medicaid services. They will also power key Medicaid waiver priorities related to health-related housing needs, nutrition, and care coordination in the community. The plan received unanimous endorsement from the association’s Board of Trustees.
“This is a major victory for the patients and hospitals of Massachusetts, especially at a time when they are facing more complex challenges than ever.” said Steve Walsh, MHA’s President & CEO. “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders, and CMS for embracing a bold approach to how healthcare works for those most in need. This agreement will be instrumental in allowing our providers to reach their communities in new and innovative ways, and we hope it can set a model for the rest of the nation to follow.”
The newly approved waiver places special emphasis on health equity. Funding will be used to help hospitals improve data collection and the delivery of accessible and culturally appropriate care, with additional efforts tied directly to their efforts to closing disparities.
“Reducing health disparities is a long-held priority for Massachusetts hospitals. This plan will take that commitment to the next level by hard-wiring health equity into our system’s planning, operations, and financing,” said Akriti Bhambi, MHA’s Director of Health Equity. “The new waiver is a shining example of our state’s resolve to address inequities head-on and ensure everyone living in Massachusetts can access the opportunity to live a healthy life.