Michigan Seeks Approval to Streamline Medicaid

Contact: Bob Wheaton 517-241-2112

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is requesting federal approval of flexibilities for the state’s Medicaid Program that are consistent with the commitment of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun to keep Michigan’s most vulnerable residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDHHS today is making the request to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to temporarily waive a number of Medicaid requirements.

“Michiganders need to stay home and stay safe,” Whitmer said. “They also need easy access to healthcare coverage now more than ever. That’s why we need to suspend the red tape to make it easier for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive the services they need to stay healthy during this national crisis.”

COVID-19 has the potential to cause serious and fatal complications for individuals with underlying medical conditions, meaning the state’s 2.5 million Medicaid beneficiaries are at an elevated risk.

“These essential changes will ensure Medicaid beneficiaries have access to health care coverage, medicine and providers while also preventing potentially dangerous face-to-face interactions,” Khaldun said.

Michigan is asking the federal government to allow its Medicaid program to: 

  • Suspend the need for new prior authorization requests for medical services and extending existing prior authorization agreements.
  • Streamline enrollment for Medicaid providers and allowing approved out-of-state providers to begin serving beneficiaries quickly.
  • Allow telephonic healthcare services as part of telehealth/telemedicine delivery.
  • Waive quantity limits on durable medical equipment, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
  • Remove limitations on providers to allow qualified physician assistants and nurses to treat COVID-19 patients.

The presidential declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national emergency allowed CMS to waive certain requirements in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under Section 1135 emergency authority.

Waivers would end upon termination of the public health emergency, including any extensions.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.