This week our In Focus section reviews the Illinois Healthcare Transformation 1115 Waiver Extension request, posted for review on May 12, 2023.
In pursuing this waiver extension, Illinois joins a growing list of states taking advantage of new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policy flexibilities to address health-related social needs (HRSNs) through Medicaid and test community-driven initiatives that are focused on improving health equity, improving access to care, and promoting whole-person care.
The Illinois waiver incorporates two of the most significant new opportunities in the CMS demonstration waiver flexibilities by proposing to incorporate housing supports for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The waiver also would extend community reintegration services for justice-involved adults and youths for up to 90 days before their release from incarceration. For a full list of proposed benefits and demonstrations, see Table 1.
Table 1. Summary of Illinois Medicaid 1115 Waiver Extension
Source: Illinois Department of Health and Family Services. Illinois Healthcare Transformation Section 1115 Demonstration Extension Overview. Available at: https://hfs.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/hfs/sitecollectiondocuments/1115demonstrationoverview05122023.pdf.
The Illinois waiver represents an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate the long-term, positive impact of providing HRSN services to achieve health equity and create a sustainable, community-driven system for delivering those services. The demonstration proposes to offer a range of HRSN services that are focused on the unmet needs of people who are homeless and housing insecure, are justice-involved, have behavioral health conditions, are pregnant, are unemployed, are food insecure, and/or have been exposed to violence or are at risk of violence with the goal of eliminating health disparities.
The waiver projects a five-year total of $4.4 billion in HRSN services expenditures and another $800 million in HRSN-related infrastructure, indicating Illinois’ long-term commitment to healthcare transformation and to building an equitable, accessible, and high-quality delivery system.
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