The state Health Department is holding hearings around the state, including in the Bronx, this week and next week to get public feedback on New York’s application requesting flexibility in improving care, boosting efficiency and cutting costs in Medicaid, a health-care program for the poor and disabled. Obtaining a waiver would allow New York to invest up to $10 billion in savings over five years that stem from reforms the state implemented in the past few years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced recently.
Cuomo created the Medicaid Redesign Team after taking office last year to recommend improvements to New York’s $53 billion program, which is funded by the federal government, the state and county governments. The Legislature adopted the changes last year. The projected savings is $34.3 billion over five years for both the state and federal government—$17.1 billion of which would be state savings. New York would use the money to reinvest in the state’s health-care infrastructure and reduce costs over the long term.
The public hearing in the Bronx will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 18 at Bronx Community College, 2155 University Ave. The other hearings are in Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse. Comments are limited to two minutes per speaker; pre-registration is not necessary.
“We have already taken the first steps to transform our state’s health care system, including cutting costs to taxpayers and improving the quality of care,” Cuomo said in a statement last week. “The Medicaid Redesign Team has led the charge, and this waiver will allow New York State to fully implement the groundbreaking MRT action plan to permanently restructure our health care system and make New York a national model.”
The state needs approval for the waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition to the hearings, the Health Department will be getting input from the public, providers and Medicaid participants through forums, webinars and focus groups.
The waiver New York is seeking would allow experimental, pilot or demonstration projects. The state would have additional flexibility in designing and improving programs, such as using “innovative” service-delivery systems that improve care and efficiency and reduce costs. The waiver would have to be “budget neutral” for the federal government, which means federal costs couldn’t be more than they would be without a waiver, according to the Cuomo administration.