January 31, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI PRESS FOR ADEQUATE FUNDING OF TARGETED CASE MANAGEMENT

Bill would allow Maryland to continue cost-saving, comprehensive services

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) have co-sponsored legislation designed to ensure that Maryland and other states receive proper reimbursement from the federal government for medical and social services provided to children and families with complex health-care needs.

The bill, S.2578, would place a moratorium until April 2009 on proposed federal regulations that limit the scope of federal health-care reimbursements, and it would ensure that states receive adequate funding for services known as "targeted case management."

"The proposed rule will jeopardize Maryland's ability to provide needed case management services to people moving from institutional care into the community and would limit the state's flexibility to manage its Medicaid program efficiently," Senator Cardin said. "I urge Congress to move this bipartisan bill promptly so that these vital services may continue without interruption."

"These regulations would deprive care to those who need it most.  With health care costs on the rise, we must do everything we can to create solutions to help, not harm, those seeking health and social services," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress for legislative proposals that provide Americans with the health care they deserve."

Targeted case management includes services designed to provide comprehensive preventive care, such as transporting people with disabilities to and from doctor's appointments, making sure foster-care children receive proper medical care, and managing pharmacy services for individuals with preventable illnesses.

Officials from the Maryland Department of Human Services have estimated that the state could lose $60 million in federal matching funds if the new regulations take effect.

Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a regulation that would drastically cut certain federal funding streams for case management and targeted case management (TCM) services.

The regulation was issued in the wake of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which limited the scope of some Medicaid reimbursements. Senators Cardin and Mikulski said, however, that the recent CMS rule goes far beyond the provisions of the law.

The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that the new CMS rule would cut Medicaid payments to states by almost twice as much as the $760 million over five years that Congress intended.

S. 2578 was introduced by Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) and, in addition to Senators Cardin and Mikulski, is co-sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Robert Casey (D-PA), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Bob Corker (R-TN), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ken Salazar (D-CO).