Puerto Rico governor announces advances for new health model
SAN JUAN – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma informed Gov. Ricardo Rosselló that she will amend the Medicaid State Plan so Puerto Rico can implement a proposed healthcare model to achieve having a more efficient system, and that reduces its expenses for 2019.
Rosselló said that Verma put the CMS team at the disposal of the government of Puerto Rico to evaluate the proposed changes at the state level and “provide the “greatest possible flexibility” within federal law so the “necessary adjustments” can be made to the health plan, according to La Fortaleza press release.
Verma gave the governor the news during a meeting Monday in which Puerto Rico Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez Mercado; Health Insurance Administrator Ángela Ávila; and the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, Carlos Mercader, were present.
According to his administration, the proposed healthcare model allows for “better options for patients and doesn’t limit them by region.” The governor explained to the CMS administrator that the model “identifies immediate measures to reduce expenses in the government’s health care plan, such as reducing administrative expenses and fraud detection.
For her part, Verma said Rosselló’s model contains “the necessary steps to reduce expenses and provide a more effective system,” a Tuesday’s release reads.
The governor also met with U.S. Health Secretary Tom Price to follow up on the request for healthcare funding parity for Puerto Rico. According to La Fortaleza’s statement, Price reaffirmed his commitment to help identify resources to support the island, mentioning as an example the recent $4.8 million allocation aimed at the treatment and prevention of opiate addictions and other measures to help prevent the Zika virus.
Verma acknowledged the urgency Puerto Rico has to address its fiscal cliff during the congressional discussion underway.