Atlanta, GA – On March 28, 2020, Governor Kemp and the Department of Community Health (DCH) submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for an 1135 Medicaid waiver. Concurrently, the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) submitted a request to CMS for a 1135 Medicare waiver.

“As we continue fighting COVID-19, these waivers will empower the healthcare community and increase their ability to care for patients by reducing federal regulations,” said Governor Kemp. “From local health departments to major hospitals, healthcare providers in Georgia are on the front lines of this fight. I am proud to collaborate efforts across state government with the Georgia Hospital Association to let healthcare providers know we stand with them."

Governor Kemp, the Department of Community Health, the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Insurance, the Department of Public Health, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, and the Georgia Hospital Association are working together to address the needs of Georgia’s vital healthcare organizations and front-line staff as they work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The 1135 Medicaid and Medicare waivers are a significant step toward easing administrative burdens on Georgia hospitals and healthcare providers during this public health emergency without compromising quality of care or patient safety.

“The State of Georgia is pleased to be able to submit a section 1135 waiver to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help mitigate - to the extent we can - consequences of the COVID-19 public health emergency on our healthcare systems,” said Frank Berry, Commissioner of the Department of Community Health. “Pending CMS consideration and approval, Georgia’s 1135 waiver is designed to provide a number of flexibilities for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® providers and members."

"Some examples of requested flexibilities include modifying the Medicaid authorizations process to enhance fee-for-service prior authorization requirements by extending certain pre-existing authorizations; expediting long-term care services and supports process for pre-admission screening and annual resident review; extending fair hearings and appeal timelines for managed care and fee-for-service enrollees; streamlining provider enrollment, recredentialing, and revalidation processes, including for out-of-state providers; modifying reporting and oversight requirements in certain healthcare facilities; and expanding provider settings to help ensure our providers can deliver care in non-traditional settings. These waiver requests, in addition to a recent expansion of telehealth options for patients and providers, will help to promote access to care during this unprecedented public health emergency. We appreciate the work of our providers in helping us to explore creative avenues to ensure the best care to our citizens during this time," said Berry.

"We recognize the hardships shared by both providers and families during the COVID-19 crisis," said Judy Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, the state agency that administers NOW and COMP waivers. "We are grateful to Governor Kemp, the Department of Community Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for working with us to give our providers and families flexibility in service delivery. This critical measure will allow our state to continue serving Georgia's most vulnerable citizens while keeping them safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

"The Georgia Hospital Association is proud to partner with Governor Kemp and his administration to help hospitals expand their capacity to care for their communities via today’s submission of 1135 waiver requests," said Earl Rogers, president of the Georgia Hospital Association. "These Medicaid and Medicare waivers would ease the administrative burden on Georgia hospitals during this COVID-19 public health emergency without compromising quality of care or patient safety. Additionally, these requests would make it easier for patients to be treated at home when possible, remove any red tape to allow for transferring patients to appropriate care settings, and expedite credentialing of providers to reinforce the healthcare workforce across the state."

Contact Director of Communications & Chief Deputy Executive Counsel

Candice Broce

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Cody Hall