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Published on Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington secures Medicaid 1115 waiver

In October, Washington received preliminary authorization on an agreement between the state and federal government for a five-year Medicaid demonstration waiver to continue implementing the governor’s Healthier Washington plan. Known as the “Medicaid 1115 Waiver”, it provides up to $1.1 billion worth of incentives for delivery system reform and $375 million to support critical services for Apple Health clients over five years. The money is not new, rather, it is existing Medicaid dollars that may now be used to support a variety of initiatives that Medicaid dollars have not historically been allowed to be spent on.

The project is part of that state’s effort to focus on prevention and proactive management for conditions like diabetes and mental illness. It funds things like supported employment, housing services, and long-term care services. It also provides support for unpaid family caregivers so they are able to keep caring for their loved ones. The intended result is to decrease the use of high-cost services and create better health outcomes.

Securing this waiver has been a priority for cities because of its ability to direct funds towards affordable housing programs. While funds cannot be spent on things like room and board or capital construction, funds will be spent on critical support and wrap-around services necessary for people to get and keep housing.

To learn more about the waiver, see here.

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