CMS Approves DHCS Section 1135 Waiver Requests; CDPH Requests Additional Flexibilities

On  Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a first wave of Section 1135 Waiver requests submitted by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to  assist in California‚Äôs COVID-19 response efforts. Recall, DHCS submitted two request letters, the first on March 16and the second on March 19. In those letters, DHCS sought flexibility on key areas, including prior authorizations eligibility, telehealth, service authorizations, administrative timelines and rate setting methodologies. DHCS guidance related to requests approved by CMS can be found on the DHCS COVID-19 Response page.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) also submitted a letter to CMS requesting Section 1135 Waiver flexibilities around health care facility staffing and facility space to provide additional surge capacity. CDPH also requested modifications to key program requirements to facilitate access to care for additional patients. CMS provided several blanket Section1135 Waiver authorities, which can be found here. Additional CMS determinations of specific state requests will be provided on a rolling basis.