ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has set forward a plan for improved health equity in New York State, and formally requested the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval of a new 1115 Medicaid waiver amendment. The amendment would lay the foundation for reducing long-standing racial, disability-related, age-related, and other social and economic health disparities.

The waiver would address the health disparities and systematic health care delivery issues that have been exposed and highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The waiver request totals $13.52 billion over five years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a profoundly severe impact on vulnerable populations, making the uneven platform of health care systems that much more prominent,” New York State Medicaid Director Amir Bassiri said. “New York State is committed to ensuring that high-quality care is accessible to all. This proposed 1115 Medicaid waiver will allow us to continue administering strategies that advance health equity, transform the health care experience, and improve the quality of life for the individuals we serve.”

The waiver proposal has a central goal to reduce health disparities, advance health equity, and support the delivery of social care. The state will aims to achieve this goal through the following strategies:

  • Building a more resilient, flexible, and integrated delivery system that reduces health disparities, advances health equity, and supports the delivery of social care;
  • Developing and strengthening transitional housing services and alternatives for the homeless and long-term institutional populations, and those at risk for institutionalization;
  • Redesigning and strengthening system capabilities to improve quality, advance health equity, and address workforce shortages; and,
  • Creating a statewide digital health and telehealth infrastructure.