May 19, 2006
The Deficit Reduction Act was recently signed into law. The bill includes new requirements for anyone currently on Medicaid or applying for Medicaid benefits. Starting July 1, 2006, anyone applying for or being recertified as Medicaid eligible will be required to prove
To date, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not provided any guidance to states regarding implementation and we do not know when such information will be released by the agency. We will provide updated information as soon as CMS guidance is available.
Since the deadline for implementation, however, is less than two months away, we wanted to make advocates aware of the provisions and suggest that you begin talking with your states to ensure that state officials do not choose a very strict reading of the law that may make it difficult for people with mental illness to comply.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has produced some detailed policy briefs that have information on advocacy strategies, documents that states should allow as sufficient proof of citizenship and computer matching of existing records that states could use to avoid burdening individuals. These documents are also included on NAMI’s website and will be very helpful in preparing for meetings with state officials.
1) DRA Citizen Documentation Requirement for Medicaid: Working with your state on implementation
2) Documents That Could be Used to Prove Citizenship and/or Identity for Medicaid
3) States Can Use Procedures that Minimize Burdens on Applicants and Beneficiaries
4) States Can Use Computer Matching of Existing Records to Document Citizenship in Medicaid
1) Find out who is working on this issue in your state. Get involved with existing coalitions or start one – The documentation requirements affect all Medicaid beneficiaries. Many of you have been working with other health advocates on Medicaid reform issues. Use those coalitions to begin a dialogue with state officials.
2) Request a meeting with State Medicaid and/or Mental Health Officials – Meet with the state Medicaid agency because they will be implementing this requirement. Use your judgment about who else in state government will be your allies. We include mental health officials because in some states they have a good relationship with the Medicaid agency and may be helpful.
Find out whether state officials have thought about these requirements and what they are considering. Urge them to make the documentation requirements as consumer friendly as possible. If your Medicaid agency is slow to respond to requests for a meeting or clarification and/or fails to take steps to ease the burden on recipients or applicants, consider whether state legislators can be helpful in getting the agency’s attention.
3) Offer to help – Talk with them about how they can best convey information to individuals with mental illness. Offer to work with them on outreach to NAMI members. Create an ongoing relationship where you can provide feedback on forms, procedures, outreach materials, etc.
4) Provide suggestions – Offer some specific ideas. The documents from the Center on Budget offer some concrete suggestions. Some examples include: