New Medicaid plans will sweeten IT modernization for vendors

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services wants to make it easier for vendors to get involved in modernizing Medicaid IT systems across the country through a series of new initiatives, according to acting Administrator Andy Slavitt.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services wants to make it easier for vendors to get involved in modernizing Medicaid IT systems across the country through a series of new initiatives, according to acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. 

CMS launched a digital listing of Medicaid procurement opportunities Monday, connecting private technology companies with states that need help modernizing their health care systems. Slavitt described the listing as “a one-stop-shop set of resources” through which vendors can easily access open state Medicaid IT procurements.

Each year, CMS invests more than $5 billion in state-level Medicaid IT, according to Slavitt, and in December the agency made its 90 percent federal match program for Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems permanent. Along with that, the agency issued new requirements that states receiving this funding work to modernize their legacy systems.

“Our new regulations require that states evolve their legacy Medicaid IT systems to leverage reusable solutions, and to practice industry-proven IT methods such as use of modularity, reuse, shared services (including Software-as-a-Service) by fundamentally shifting the financial incentives away from custom development,” Slavitt said in a release. “We believe this approach will expedite states’ IT timelines, decrease overall costs, and ignite adoption of advanced technology solutions.”


CMS also plans to issue a series of guidance documents for a new state certification process of Medicaid system modules and release a request for information to the broader IT industry community on how CMS can help states get the technology solutions they need. 

Slavitt described this push within CMS as a major opportunity for private technology firms to get involved.

“With over 30 states currently redesigning their Medicaid eligibility and/or claims processing and information retrieval systems, 2016 will the most active year to date for Medicaid growth and new IT business prospects,” said Slavitt, adding that states have already paid out $10.2 billion to vendors in incentives for progress on health IT innovation. “CMS and states want to make the most of this opportunity.” 

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