Shutdown update: DC cuts off Medicaid payments, CMS confirms limited surveys

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In a blow to Medicaid-certified long-term care providers in the nation's capital, officials announced the District of Columbia would not make Medicaid payments during the federal government shutdown.

Noting the D.C. decision, LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix expressed concern that members of the long-term care provider association will “not be able to carry out their missions” if the shutdown continues. Seniors are already being hurt by cuts to programs such as Meals-on-Wheels, he added.

The problem comes from how closely the District is tied to the federal government, which approves its annual budget.

"Due to the failure of the United States Congress to pass a budget for fiscal year 2014 and the District's resulting budget difficulties, at this time, the Department of Health Care Finance is not in a position to pay the managed care organizations or fee-for-service providers for the healthcare services delivered to the District's Medicaid and Alliance beneficiaries,” the department stated Friday.

About $89 million in payments scheduled to go out on Friday were put on hold, according to news sources. The District originally had planned to pay providers out of a contingency fund, but due to regulations around how that fund is managed, that plan proved unworkable without an approved 2014 budget.

Officials instructed providers to continue to submit claims as usual, and said the District would pay the claims after receiving budget approval from Congress, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Agencies in other states, such as Maryland, reiterated assurances that Medicaid reimbursements will continue to flow during the shutdown.

The shutdown also will curtail certain survey and certification activities undertaken by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For example, complaint surveys will not be done unless they involve potential immediate jeopardy or actual harm situations, according to a CMS memorandum.

The memo, dated Oct. 2, provides official confirmation of shutdown procedures explained by long-term care provider associations when the shutdown got underway.
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