Bennet, Grassley Applaud CMS for Issuing New Guidance to Improve Care for Children with Complex Medical Needs

Federal agency issues additional guidance to states for implementing bipartisan Bennet-Grassley 2019 law by October 1, 2022

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released the following statement on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issuing new guidance to state Medicaid directors on the implementation of the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act:

“We appreciate CMS issuing additional guidance to state Medicaid programs to implement our bipartisan ACE Kids Act. In April, we pressed CMS about the October 1 implementation of the ACE Kids Act. We look forward to reviewing this new guidance to ensure it follows congressional intent and will continue working with stakeholders to ensure CMS is ready on October 1. ACE Kids will help vulnerable kids and their families by improving coordination in the health care system to produce healthier outcomes. On average, these kids see five to six specialists and up to as many as 20 to 30 allied health professionals. Parents are often overwhelmed at the scope of that care. Helping these families navigate the bureaucracy and cut red tape is commonsense policy, and we look forward to its full implementation later this year,” said Bennet and Grassley. 

The ACE Kids Act, which Bennet and Grassley ushered through Congress in 2019, allows children with medically-complex conditions to choose to enroll in a health home – if a state Medicaid program permits – in an effort to improve care coordination and health outcomes. Specifically, this law helps CMS and state Medicaid programs align rules and reimbursements to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and provide better care coordination for children with complex medical needs. CMS is required to fully implement the law by October 1, 2022.

In April 2022, Bennet sent a letter to CMS asking for an update on ACE Kids Act implementation. In 2021, Bennet introduced the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act to build on the ACE Kids Act. This legislation would provide states with the ability to use a streamlined screening and enrollment process for out-of-state pediatric care providers that need to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, at the same time safeguarding important program integrity processes. This would help reduce the regulatory burdens that slow down, or in certain cases, prohibit children from receiving the care they need.