CMS unveils Medicaid/CHIP 'scorecard' data but doesn't say what it'll do with it

Seema Verma speaking at press conference
The CMS has unveiled its inaugural Medicaid/CHIP scorecard but dodged on whether it'll punish states that receive poor scores. (whitehouse.gov)

The Trump administration released the inaugural Medicaid and CHIP "scorecard" on June 4, which is intended to reveal how states are performing under the programs.

But the agency didn’t say whether poor performances will lead to consequences for states.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the scorecard, which publicly posts state and federal Medicaid outcomes including hospital readmissions, is in an effort to increase transparency within the programs and offers "taxpayers insights into how their dollars are being spent and the impact those dollars have on health outcomes."

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More than 75 million people are covered under the programs, which cost taxpayers about $558 billion per year. 

RELATED: States could face budgetary squeeze as Medicaid expansion funding drops off

The initial version of the scorecard only includes measures which are voluntarily reported by states, including health system performance and state administrative accountability, as well as federally reported measures. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it was developing the scorecards late last year as part of a "turn the page" initiative. 

"This first release is a huge step forward but it is only the first step," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press meeting. The agency plans to add additional reporting information in the future, including opioid-related and home-based, service-related quality measures.

She added that the agency might consider mandatory reporting, as well as new measures, in the future.

Verma, however, dodged questions when pressed about what the agency plans to do with the performance data and declined to rule out, for example, considering state performance in Medicaid waiver request evaluations. 

The National Association of Medicaid Directors criticized (PDF) the scorecard, and said it was concerned about the accuracy of the data and what conclusions may drawn when making comparisons across states with significant structural differences. 

 

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