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CMS is reviewing Missouri’s new Medicaid licensure policy

  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is looking into Missouri’s new Medicaid rule, a spokesperson told The Missouri Times Thursday. 

“CMS evaluates all policies affecting the Medicaid program and is currently reviewing the new policy in Missouri,” the spokesperson said. 

New Medicaid regulations for abortion providers in Missouri took effect Wednesday, enacting requirements some said could potentially jeopardize funding for Planned Parenthood. 

Filed late last month, the emergency regulations tighten reporting requirements, allow state departments to work together to consider licensure, and enact new safety requirements. The rule expires on April 10, 2022. 

Under the new rules, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) can turn over its inspection records of abortion providers to the Department of Social Services (DSS). 

The Medicaid Audit and Compliance Unit then evaluates Medicaid eligibility for the provider, a change DHSS said would “increase further compliance with state and federal laws and regulations governing abortion facilities.”

“As a result, the Department of Health and Senior Services finds that there is a compelling governmental interest that requires an early effective date,” the notice read

The regulations also reinforce standards requiring providers to notify pathology labs of failed abortions within 24 hours, ensure all surgical tools are sterilized, perform pelvic exams on patients 72 hours before the procedure if medically necessary, and participate in yearly fire drills. 

Sen. Bill White, the Republican chair of the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection, said the new regulations were based on recommendations from his committee that would allow DSS to deny or revoke licenses based on DHSS investigations rather than having to conduct their own reviews. 

The emergency rule was filed five days after the recommendation was unveiled.

“We say very general things, and the departments tighten them up and flush them out,” White told The Missouri Times. “The states are given the authority to establish standards for Medicaid providers and decide how to handle those that fail to keep them. These are very good rules.”

White, who also chairs the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, said he did not believe the regulations put Missouri out of compliance with CMS or jeopardized any federal funding. 

However, representatives from Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSWMO) called on the Biden administration to intervene during a call with reporters Wednesday even though the new regulations will not impact Planned Parenthood’s services at this time.