Washington providers say Medicaid waiver ignores some patients

September 21, 2015

Some providers say a proposal to transform Washington state's Medicaid program doesn't take into account the needs of children and could dissuade their colleagues from treating beneficiaries in the program. The state is seeking $3 billion in federal funds to overhaul its Medicaid program via a five-year pilot project. It seeks to have its managed Medicaid plans oversee both mental and physical health services, as the two are now largely addressed separately, and Washington also wants to change the way it pays for care. By 2019, the state aims for 80% of its Medicaid care to be purchased through value-based payment. The state also wants to launch a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, which allows federal Medicaid funding to finance incentives for providers to pursue delivery-system reforms. Washington health officials say the waiver is needed because of the Medicaid population explosion prompted by the ACA.