August 6, 2012
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces that New York Submits Federal Waiver to Invest $10 Billion in Medicaid Redesign Team Savings to Transform the State's Health Care System

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces that New York Submits...

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York has submitted an application for a waiver from the federal government that will allow the state to invest up to $10 billion in savings generated by the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) reforms to implement an action plan to transform the state's health care system.


The Medicaid 1115 waiver amendment will enable New York to fully implement the MRT action plan, facilitate innovation, and lower health care costs over the long term. The waiver application submitted today by New York State requests that the federal government allow the state to reinvest over a five-year period up to $10 billion of the $17.1 billion in federal savings generated by MRT reforms.


"The reforms put in place by the Medicaid Redesign Team have already resulted in major savings for taxpayers and better quality of care for New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "This waiver amendment will allow New York State to fully implement the groundbreaking MRT action plan to permanently restructure our health care system and continue to make New York a national model."


The initiatives proposed by the MRT - and adopted by the Legislature last year - have led to major savings for state and federal taxpayers. MRT initiatives are projected to save $34.3 billion over the next five years - divided between the State and federal government. If not for these MRT initiatives, state spending would have grown by $2.3 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year alone.


The waiver amendment's broad objectives are consistent with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS ) Triple Aim: better health, better care, and lower costs. New York will use federal dollars generated through MRT savings to reinvest in the state's health care system.


Key strategies outlined in the waiver amendment document include:


  • Major investments to expand access to high quality primary care
  • Grants to establish Health Homes to improve the quality of care for the state's highest need/highest costs patients
  • Expanding resources available to transform and protect safety net providers
  • Positioning and preparing health care providers and consumers for long term care integration to managed care
  • Innovations in public health strategies that will generate significant, long-term Medicaid savings
  • Training and support to ensure that New York has the workforce it needs to thrive as national health care reform is implemented
  • Thorough and rigorous evaluation of both new and ongoing MRT initiatives to ensure the wise investment of taxpayers' contributions and to enhance patient outcomes
  • Strategies that will reduce hospital readmissions and help protect patients from getting sick during their hospital stay


As part of the waiver amendment application process and in accordance with requirements outlined by the CMS, New York initiated an extensive public engagement effort. Citizens and stakeholders participated in public forums, topic-specific webinars, and Medicaid member focus groups. The process also included a survey tool, which enabled the public and stakeholders to submit ideas and comments which informed the waiver amendment application.


More information and a copy of the Medicaid waiver amendment application and is available at:


U.S. Representative Brian Higgins said, "Health Care infrastructure investment in Western New York benefits both patient care and the region's economy. This waiver will allow for continued progress to improve our health care delivery system, creating a better health care network for our region and beyond."


U.S. Representative Peter King said, "The waiver amendment provides a critical opportunity for New York to modernize and strengthen its health system. I am proud to work with Governor Cuomo and to take the lead on the federal level to ensure that the application is approved quickly."


U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, said, "Reinvesting our state's savings to improve the Medicaid program can only help New Yorkers. Instead of Medicaid costing another $2.3 billion, in the 2011-12 fiscal year, savings initiatives are projected to save approximately $34 billion over the next five years, to be divided between the state and federal governments. Putting these funds back to work here in New York helps to keep New Yorkers healthier."


About the Medicaid Redesign Team:


Established by Governor Cuomo in January 2011, the MRT brought together stakeholders and experts from throughout the state to work cooperatively to both reform New York State's health care system and reduce costs. In January and February 2011, the MRT held a series of public meetings across the State, which provided New Yorkers valuable opportunities to share their ideas and comments. Meetings were also broadcast on the Internet and informational materials were posted on the MRT web page. In all, the MRT received more than 4,000 ideas from citizens and stakeholders.


The MRT worked in two phases. Phase 1 provided a blueprint for lowering Medicaid spending in State fiscal year 2011-12 by $2.3 billion. Phase 1 was completed in February 2011 when the MRT submitted an initial report in line with the Governor's Medicaid spending target contained in his 2011-2012 budget. The report included 79 recommendations to redesign and restructure the Medicaid program by bringing efficiencies and by generating better health outcomes for patients. The Legislature, as part of the budget process, approved 78 of the 79 recommendations it considered; these initiatives are now being implemented.


In Phase 2, to address additional issues and to monitor the implementation of key recommendations enacted in Phase 1, the MRT divided into 10 work groups. As part of their work, the groups provided 175 additional stakeholders the opportunity to participate in the MRT process. A number of public hearings were held across the state. Following these sessions, MRT recommendations were compiled and included in a final report. The report is available at

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