MRT 2.0 Meeting Notes and Recommendations

March 19, 2020

Today, the members of the MRT 2.0 met via conference call to review and approve the recommendations set forth in the Governor’s original charge of restoring financial sustainability to the Medicaid program while connecting other programmatic initiatives that would advance the core healthcare strategies he has pursued since taking office in 2011.  The MRT II process and the $2.5 billion MRT II target were established before the outbreak of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The MRT 2.0 members were given an Executive Summary an Executive Summary Scorecard to review.

A majority of MRT 2.0 members voted in favor of the package.  These recommendations will still need to be approved by the Legislature.

Notes from the Conference Call:

Michael Dowling opened the call and set the context.

State Budget Director Robert Mujica

MRT 2.0 process started in response to Medicaid spending growing faster than state can manage or afford.  Now in a different world entirely.

Today the Group will be voting on the entire package however realistically only a portion of the specific recommendations will be implemented in the short term, while others need further explication.

Note:  State is going to use a portion of FMAP dollars rec’d from federal government to buy some time and  ’round out’ the edges of some of the recommendations on the list.  Soften the edges so state can delay some of the recommendations from having to be immediately implemented.

Group members were reminded that they are not ‘voting’ on a budget here.  Package will be sent to Gov and lawmakers for review.  Again, some FMAP $ will be used to overlay these proposals.

The process to date is just one part of this process.  ‘Rest assured state will be responsible and deal with what is a healthcare crisis by making sure funds are available to healthcare during this crisis.

Donna Frescatore, State Medicaid Director and Secretary of Health and Human Services Paul Francis

DOH received thousands of ideas through public meetings and public website.

Primary goals:

  • Restore financial sustainability of Medicaid Program by implementing shorter term actionable reforms
  • Ensure Medicaid Program’s long term health

Believes the package of recommendations address both goals.

*Executive will have discretion about effective dates and implementation strategies for proposals approved.

After the state agencies and members of the executive weighed in (above) several members of the MRT 2.0 Workgroup offered comments. Of note, several of the members who are considered to be representative of disabled and poor New Yorkers stated that they agreed (overall) with the package and that they look forward to future discussions and the commitment from the state to continue the dialogue regarding the proposals that are longer term.

Mike Dowling then called for approval of the package of recommendations via roll call vote.

Almost all members of MRT 2.0 voted in favor of the package.  Three members abstained.   3 people abstained due to their roles as members of legislative central staff.  OMH Commissioner Anne Sullivan, and OASAS Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez Sanchez voted yes.