State gets green light for $6.2 billion Medicaid waiver

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A waiver that will give California $6.2 billion to overhaul its Medicaid payment and care delivery systems received federal approval last week.

The five-year waiver, approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last Wednesday, allots money to reform four key Medi-Cal programs. It includes $3.2 billion for public hospitals to move towards quality-based reimbursements. The state's Whole Person Care Pilot, which targets heavy users of health services like emergency care, also received $1.5 billion through the waiver.

"Medi-Cal is a central pillar of the health system that we all rely on, and we need to use to this waiver to spur innovation across the state on health care delivery,” Anthony Wright, executive director of health Access California, told California Healthline. “The waiver also brings new accountability for Medi-Cal on the question of access to care, and of paying for value rather than volume."

California originally requested $17 billion in funding for the waiver, which will run through Dec. 31, 2020.