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Committee Leaders: More Work Needed to Bolster Critical Medicaid Data

Jun 28, 2017
HHS OIG Report on T-MSIS Identifies Areas for Improvement Before Program Can be Fully Implemented

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today commented on a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector general (OIG) regarding the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS), a new data system that is designed to “improve the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of Medicaid data.”

HHS OIG identified technological problems during data testing and competing initiatives that limited states’ capacity to focus on T-MSIS. Due to these issues, the report said that the date for T-MSIS to have state Medicaid program data has continued to be delayed. CMS’s initial goal was for all states to be submitting T-MSIS data on a monthly basis by July 1, 2014. Since then, CMS has moved the target date six additional times. Their current goal is to have all states submit T-MSIS data by the end of 2017. According to CMS, “as of June 6, 2017, 40 states and the Pennsylvania CHIP are submitting T-MSIS data.”

The report also noted that “as states and CMS continue to work together to submit data into T-MSIS, they continue to raise concerns about the completeness and reliability of the data; these same concerns were raised in OIG’s 2013 review of the T-MSIS pilot. Specifically, states indicate that they are unable to report data for all the T-MSIS data elements. Additionally, even with a revised data dictionary that provides definitions for each data element, states and CMS report concerns about states’ varying interpretations of data elements.”

The report serves as a timely reminder of Medicaid’s 14-year history of being considered a high-risk program. A February report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to rely on inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely data.

“The trend of poor data has been a problem for more than a decade, and it is has real consequences,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “Challenges within the system remain, such as a history of delayed target dates for implementation, the lack of a deadline for when data will be available for program analysis, and the absence of a universal understanding of data elements that need to be implemented in order to make any analysis of national trends or patterns reliable. T-MSIS is an important and promising system that could help move the Medicaid program off the high-risk list, but it is imperative that these challenges be addressed.”

To read a copy of the report, click HERE.