NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 13, 2021)—On January 8, the State of Tennessee announced that its “block grant” waiver request for TennCare (the state Medicaid program) was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) after a year of negotiation. This new agreement will allow TennCare to administer the program with less oversight from the federal government and is intended to give more flexibility. The new block grant waiver—known as TennCare III—came after the General Assembly passed a law in 2019 directing Governor Lee’s administration to negotiate with CMS. 

The new program requires that TennCare maintain the current levels of service and populations served but gives increased flexibility to add new benefits without prior approval from CMS. Any savings the state achieves under the yearly cap will be eligible to be shared with Tennessee as long as certain quality and access metrics are achieved.

AAHomecare submitted comments on the proposal and worked with Tennessee HME stakeholders and TennCare leadership to ensure the program includes strong oversight mechanisms while maintaining patient benefits and access to care. 

The waiver has been approved by CMS for 10 years and requires General Assembly assent before it goes into effect. The Lee administration plans to submit the package to the General Assembly shortly and approval is expected.

The FAQ document and text of the waiver can be found here.