Proper use of Medicaid stimulus funds still unclear

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Deficit-reduction plan to gain $600 billion from lower provider payments and higher beneficiary prem
Deficit-reduction plan to gain $600 billion from lower provider payments and higher beneficiary prem
A fierce debate has erupted over how best to use the $87 billion in Medicaid money included in the recently passed economic stimulus bill, according to news analyses.

On one side of the issue are providers and patient advocacy goups, who would like to see the new money used to expand services, broaden eligibility requirements and increase reimbursements for providers, The Washington Post notes. Some in state governments, however, want to use the money to even out state budgets as a whole and prevent layoffs and cutbacks in areas other than just healthcare.

But certain language in the stimulus package stipulates that the Medicaid funds not be used to pad so-called "rainy-day funds." The legality of using Medicaid funding on other state programs remains murky, the Post noted. Additionally, states receiving Medicaid stimulus funds are required to maintain beneficiary eligibility at last year's levels—which makes it unclear whether states that expand enrollment would be eligible to receive increased matching funds for new beneficiaries,

Up-to-date answers to these issues and others concerning the Medicare and Medicaid programs will be addressed at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on March 26 during a McKnight's Online Expo webcast. Free registration is underway now at www.mcknights.com/expo.

Other seminars at the two-day online event include: "Technology - Tech tools that help drive Quality Improvement" (3/25, 11a.m. EST); "Wound Care - Providers are under more pressure" (3/25, 2 p.m. EST); "Payment - MDS 3.0 is coming, are you ready?" (3/25, 3 p.m. EST); "Capital - Sizing up new marketplace realities" (3/26, 11 a.m. EST).