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An association of Medicaid directors wants Congress to give four months’ notice before the end of the public health emergency. It was the main item in a letter to top federal lawmakers last week that also asked for other considerations.

Once the PHE ends, extra federal funding and allowances will cease or be phased out as well. That’s why the National Association of Medicaid Directors wants as much advance time to undertake the massive tasks of redetermination.

NAMD also asked for a guarantee that federal guidance on the redetermination period won’t change. The bipartisan nonprofit also urged Congress for maintenance of the current 6.2 percentage point Federal Medical Assistance Percentage enhancement through the first quarter of redeterminations and phasing the enhancement down over 12 months after this quarter. Medicaid paid nearly $100 billion more than Medicare for nursing home residents in 2019, according to Genworth. 

“The most critical thing Congress can do to ensure a successful unwinding from the PHE is provide clear dates and funding levels in statute for state Medicaid agencies to reliably plan around,” said the letter. “This certainty will allow states to make confident budget projections, solidify the content and timing of messages that go out to Medicaid’s stakeholders, and will ensure the highest possible degree of appropriate coverage retention for people being served by the program – whether that is remaining on Medicaid or transitioning to other sources of coverage for which they are eligible. 

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act status quo that is contingent on constant revisions every 90 days as the PHE gets renewed can no longer be sustained.”

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Monday that the longer the notice federal regulators can give, the better.

“We appreciate the National Association of Medicaid Directors raising this with the Administration and agree that it is critical that HHS give our long-term care providers and states as much advance notice as possible for planning purposes,” AHCA/NCAL said in a statement. “We strongly encourage HHS to work with states on strategies to ensure long-term care populations are made a priority.”

NAMD told Congress that because of the lack of an announcement from the U.S. Department of Human Services that the national COVID-19 PHE will end in January 2023, states are now assuming the PHE will extend at least into April 2023. 

“This extension of the PHE, which would be the 12th such extension, exacerbates the uncertainties for state planning to resume normal Medicaid operations,” the letter said. “This in turn increases the risk of unnecessary losses of health insurance coverage for Medicaid members. The uncertainty around the PHE is no longer tenable.”