RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


CMS Questions DPW Regarding HealthChoices
July 24, 2013

In early July, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) raising questions about HealthChoices, specifically the behavioral health agreements between the commonwealth and the counties. Deputy Secretary Dennis Marion shared the letter and emphasized in his cover letter that “…similar questions regarding the structure of Pennsylvania’s procurement process have been raised in the past. However, Pennsylvania’s approach to behavioral health care under HealthChoices has been approved repeatedly since its inception.”

CMS concerns center on the behavioral health agreements and question if they are “subgrants or intergovernmental agreements that are subject to cost principles set forth in OMB Circular A-87.” Essentially, the CMS concerns threaten the very nature of the right of first opportunity with the counties in HealthChoices and as to the procurement process. Deputy Secretary Marion reported that the department is preparing for a follow-up conversation with CMS to discuss the issue more fully.

Secretary Marion is expected to present this issue at the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee (MAAC) this week. Richard Edley, RCPA president and CEO, has recently been named to the MAAC and will be present for the discussion. This crucial issue will be tracked carefully by RCPA and members kept informed.

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