BOSTON (WWLP) – Federal approval was given to the Baker-Polito Administration to expand and extend the Medicaid (MassHealth) section 115 waiver.

This will run until December 2027. Upon approval, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is to support integrated, outcomes-based care. Through this initiative, MassHealth’s two million members are supported.

According to a news release sent by Baker-Polito, a new focus is being brought on advancing health equity by closing disparities in quality and access. Other focuses will be investing in primary, behavioral, and pediatric health care, and sustaining Massachusetts’ national leadership by maintaining near-universal health insurance coverage.

“Since Massachusetts implemented its last 1115 Medicaid waiver in 2017, our administration has strengthened and reformed the MassHealth program, focusing on providing a nation-leading health care delivery model that rewards value over volume, and produces better health outcomes for the residents it serves,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Under this waiver extension, MassHealth will continue to implement innovative reforms that provide quality care, better health outcomes, and equity. I am grateful to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for their collaboration with our administration and to Secretary Marylou Sudders, Assistant Secretary Amanda Cassel Kraft, and their team for their commitment to improving health care for the people of Massachusetts.”

“Massachusetts’ new 1115 Medicaid waiver will build on our administration’s efforts to ensure the MassHealth system is providing quality, affordable care for the families it services, using an innovative model,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The negotiation of this waiver sustains the Commonwealth’s role as a national leader in health care reform and will guide our state’s efforts to strengthen health care delivery for years to come.”

“We’re thrilled to work alongside Massachusetts to advance policies to expand access to high-quality health care, particularly for those most in need,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The demonstration provides 24 months of continuous Medicaid coverage to communities who are among the most likely to experience gaps in coverage – such as those experiencing homelessness. The demonstration also invests in the services that people need to address their health-related social needs, such as medically tailored meals and housing support. That’s transformational change – as are many of the other components included in Massachusetts’ 1115 demonstration. We encourage all states to follow the Commonwealth’s lead supporting whole-person coverage and care.”

The Baker-Polito Administration has been delivering reforms to the MassHealth program for the last two decades. A total of $400 million in annual investments is to also go towards health equity and a value-based primary care payment program.

“This 1115 demonstration reinforces Massachusetts’ commitment to providing high-quality care for all residents, including individuals and families served by MassHealth,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “This next phase of the demonstration will make significant investments in behavioral health and primary care, especially for children and adolescents, to further develop a health care delivery system that is patient-focused, equitable and outcomes are driven.”

“The 1115 demonstration allows us to deliver health care models focused on accountable, coordinated care that better serve members and prioritize equity,” said Amanda Cassel Kraft, Assistant Secretary for MassHealth. “MassHealth appreciates the support and engagement from both CMS and the Massachusetts health care community. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners as we implement these important and innovative initiatives.”

According to Baker-Polito, the following are MassHealth’s primary goals got 115 demonstrations:

  • Continue the path of restructuring and re-affirm accountable, value-based care
  • Reform and invest in primary care, behavioral health, and pediatric care that expands access and moves the delivery system away from siloed, fee-for-service health care
  • Advance health equity, addressing health-related social needs and specific disparities
  • Sustainably support the Commonwealth’s safety net, including increased funding for safety net providers, with a continued linkage to accountable care
  • Ma­­intain near-universal health insurance coverage