The CMS approved state plans to amend Medicaid 16% faster last year than they did in 2016, according to new federal data.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that the agency will improve the waiver process that allows states to make changes to Medicaid such as eligibility requirements and rates.
"When this process doesn't work, it can create bureaucratic headaches that hinder their ability to effectively manage their program," Verma wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
The agency said that 78% of state waivers were approved within the first 90-day review period during 2018, which was a 14% increase over 2016.
In addition, the median approval times for 1915(b), a waiver that requires Medicaid patients in a state to participate in managed care, fell by 11% from 2016 to 2018. The backlog for pending state plan amendments and 1915 waiver actions pending additional information from the states decreased 80% from prior years, the agency said.
Verma added that feedback from a federal-state work group that has representatives from more than a dozen states directed the changes.
"With faster processing times and earlier communication, states now have much greater ability to manage their programs in an effective and predictable manner," Verma wrote. "We want to ease bureaucratic requirements for both states and our own staff so that we can focus those resources on improving health outcomes rather than pushing paperwork."