March 16,2018

Press Contact:

(202) 224-4515 Katie Niederee, Julia Lawless

Bipartisan, Bicameral Leaders Urge CMS to Further Improve Medicaid Data System

WASHINGTON Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS), an upgraded data system that holds great potential to ensure the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of Medicaid data.

The letter was signed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

The letter follows up on key findings in a December 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the program, requested by the committees, which released a number of findings and recommendations.

While GAO cited in its report a significant increase in participating states (from 18 to 49, as of November 2017), further action is needed. GAO summarizes, “CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] has taken steps for the initial use of T-MSIS data, but does not have a plan or associated timeframes for using these data for oversight. As a result, important goals for T-MSIS, such as reducing states’ reporting burden and enhancing program integrity activities, are not being fully realized.”

“Certainly, there has been a long-standing bipartisan interest in improving the quality of data available at the federal level in Medicaid,” the leaders wrote to CMS. “This issue has been the focus of several reports from both GAO and the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The lack of quality Medicaid data may potentially hinder more robust program oversight, policy development, quality improvement, and other efforts.”

The leaders asked CMS a range of questions based on the GAO findings, including asking CMS for further information regarding concrete steps in their work plan and implementation timeframes.

The leaders continued, “Our hope is that GAO’s review can assist the agency and us in continuing to make progress toward the broader shared goal of improving CMS’s ability to identify improper payments, helping ensure beneficiaries’ access to services, and advancing program transparency and integrity.”

CMS’ implementation of T-MSIS is an area GAO and other watchdog groups continue to closely monitor. For example, a June report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) on T-MSIS identified areas of improvement before the program could be fully implemented.

Click HERE to read a copy of the letter.