CHA Comments on HHS and CMS ACE Kids Guidance and Definition
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance on the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids) focused on improving care and outcomes for children with medically complex conditions who utilize Medicaid.
The ACE Kids law, enacted in 2019 after five years of bipartisan legislative efforts, creates a state option under Medicaid to implement health homes for children with medically complex conditions. Most of these children and their families experience barriers accessing and coordinating timely care. The ACE Kids health homes would improve care and costs by streamlining and integrating physical and behavioral health and coordinate care across multiple providers.
Importantly, the ACE Kids law enacts a national definition of eligible children, one with the expectation of being consistently applied across states that would result in data to drive improvements in care and identify equity challenges, appropriate payment models and quality metrics. The guidance released today sets the foundation for this definition, allowing states to expand the definition to children with conditions not explicitly listed in statute.
“We thank Secretary Becerra and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure for their commitment to improving children’s health and well-being and supporting the providers who care for them by releasing this guidance in support of the ACE Kids law,” said Mark Wietecha, CEO of Children’s Hospital Association (CHA). “We look forward to working with children’s hospitals, their states and with HHS to implement ACE Kids and gain insightful data to drive care improvements for this population of children.”
Most recently, Sens. Grassley and Bennet and Reps. Castor and Bilirakis supported timely guidance from CMS to realize the promise of this critical legislation for children and families. Their efforts reflect the strong bipartisan collaboration ACE Kids inspired and will continue to require as states work together to create regional health homes.
For more information visit the CHA website for everything you need to know about the ACE Kids Act.