Harwell task force presents Medicaid plan to feds (press release)

News release from House Republican Caucus
(NASHVILLE) — Earlier today, members of the ‘3-Star Healthy Taskforce’ and TennCare met with representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss the Taskforce’s proposal to close the insurance coverage gap in Tennessee.

“We feel that today’s meeting was a significant step forward in achieving the Taskforce’s stated goal of presenting a plan to the legislature that improves access to healthcare and closes the insurance coverage gap,” said Representative Matthew Hill.

“This conservative and measured approach of focusing on behavioral health, mental illness and substance abuse, and uninsured veterans is one of the most significant steps forward for healthcare in Tennessee,” continued Chairman Cameron Sexton. “This patient population has been underserved in the State of Tennessee for generations.”

The grey paper presented to CMS pursues a different direction than Insure Tennessee and details a two-phase approach the Taskforce is seeking for approval.

Representative Steve McManus responded, “The Taskforce is taking a financially conservative direction focusing on measurements and outcomes that will not only improve the health of this population but will make sure the cost of the pilot doesn’t exceed estimates.”

The Taskforce is optimistic concerning future discussions with CMS and believes today’s initial meeting was a very good beginning. The Taskforce spent the last two months conducting listening sessions and meeting statewide with stakeholders as they developed their plan.

Included in the coordinated approach outlined in the grey paper is the Tennessee Department of Labor assisting those in the pilot population with finding employment or improving their employment opportunities. Tennessee Reconnect will also be tasked with working with this population either through vocational schools or community colleges.

“Our plan isn’t just about improving access to healthcare and closing the gap. Our plan is a pro-active approach within all levels of government to move individuals from government assistance to independence,” said Sexton.

Representative Matthew Hill concluded, “It isn’t enough to just focus on the health of the person. We need to focus on helping them improve their lives and not be dependent on government assistance.”

There will be a Taskforce press conference on Thursday, June 30th at 10am in the Legislative Library at the Capitol, where the grey paper will be presented and discussed. The Taskforce will continue to work with CMS and TennCare in preparing the final plan for the legislature in January.