(The Center Square) – Missouri has received or will receive billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid and infrastructure funding.
When lawmakers convene their 2022 legislative session on Jan.5, much of the action in Jefferson City will be spending that money on one-time allowances that don’t incur recurring costs.
First, however, state agencies must do their annual pre-session committee tours, submit preliminary budget requests, and signal the start of a process that ends when the fiscal year spending plan following will come into effect on July 1.
But this year, as state, local governments, and school districts assess the “one-time once-in-a-lifetime cash holdings” proposals to kick off the fiscal year 23 (FY23) budget cycle, many agencies think big. and long term.
The Missouri Department of Administration is seeking $ 84 million to modernize the state’s IT infrastructure.
Health care providers, state power co-ops, internet service providers, school districts and the Missouri Farm Bureau have appeared before panels asking to take advantage of a $ 400 million loan program for the development of broadband which the state will, in turn, finance from its allocations of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the proposed Build Back Better plan – when, or if, adopted.
MO HealthNet division director Todd Richardson outlined the parameters of his FY23 pitch to a Senate panel.
Its result: With Missouri’s Medicaid program scheduled to enroll up to 275,000 additional people by July 1, the agency is “data rich and information poor.” Computer systems and data management programs need to be modernized and strengthened.
Richardson said that one of MO HealthNet’s priorities is to create a central multi-source data cache – an “enterprise data warehouse” – to streamline reporting processes for healthcare providers as well as ‘State. The efficiencies will save everyone on downstream operating costs, he said.
“We’re not talking about a single system – we’re talking about a set of systems that all have to work together to deliver the program we want to deliver,” he said. “It’s not just a new system for hosting data, but also a system focused on data governance so that we know what our data means. The enterprise data warehouse will allow us to have a single source of truth for our Medicaid data. “
MO HealthNet is studying similar state systems to determine how to proceed, Richardson said, without offering a cost description for the pending proposal, concluding his presentation to the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Liability and Taxpayer Protection.
President Senator Bill White, R-Joplin. said the committee would recommend investing in general updates for MO HealthNet’s digital infrastructure, which will no doubt be underscored by the Missouri Supreme Court ruling upholding Amendment 2, the ballot measure August 2020 that state voters approved to extend Medicaid to 275,000 low-income adults.
Wednesday’s hearing was the fourth of the 10-member panel since the Republican leadership of the Senate created it after the chamber adjourned the special session without considering a bill passed by the House funding providers of Medicaid which, directly or through affiliates, provide abortion services.
The committee was tasked with appeasing pro-life Tories and “taking definitive action” by advancing the proposals outlined in this measure, House Bill 2.
At its September meeting, the committee approved its own report detailing proposed regulatory and statutory changes to the state’s Medicaid system.
The “emergency” Medicaid regulations developed by the expert panel were implemented last month by the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Department of Human Services (DSS) .
Under these, DHSS can forward inspection records to DSS’s Medicaid Audit and Compliance Unit to “improve compliance with state and federal laws and regulations governing abortion facilities.”
The committee’s draft recommendations will be presented to lawmakers in 2022. They are currently under review by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).