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T-MSIS & Data Quality: CMS Is Putting Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

The Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System or T-MSIS is here to stay. Through its investments in the program over recent years, CMS has signaled that T-MSIS data quality is a high priority at the federal level. By taking proactive steps now to improve their T-MSIS information, states can feel confident that they are doing all they can to benefit their Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.

State T-MSIS Data Has Improved, But More Work Is Needed

A report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that both the accuracy and completeness of T-MSIS data have improved compared to prior years. To motivate continued data improvements, however, CMS has identified 32 priority items for states to address.

If states don’t meet established standards for a certain number of priority items, CMS can withhold a portion of federal Medicaid funds from them. Although more work is needed to improve T-MSIS data, state governments don’t have to go it alone.

CMS has implemented several programs to help:

  • Funding. Under the Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) program, CMS is offering a 90/10 funding match for Design, Development and Implementation. This is a strong indicator that CMS is prioritizing T-MSIS data and reporting quality.
  • Technical Assistance and Outreach. CMS meets at least once a month with each state agency to provide ongoing technical assistance. This enables states to clarify data issues and also work collaboratively with CMS to identify possible solutions. In addition, the agency sponsors national webinars to share implementation-related updates.
  • Automated Data Quality Tools. CMS conducts approximately 4,400 automated checks on T-MSIS data submitted by states. Over half of these checks provide feedback related to the format and consistency of data. The errors identified through automated checks are displayed through CMS’ interactive, web-based dashboard. States can see the frequency and cause of certain types of errors. This information can help teams pinpoint and fix data quality issues.
  • Comparisons to CMS Standards. State data submissions are compared to CMS standards, which evaluate information for things like completeness and accuracy. States can track their progress toward meeting agency standards through CMS’ data quality tool.
  • State Plans of Action. If a state’s data issues related to CMS’ priority items will take more than six months to address, CMS asks the state to create a plan of action. Agency officials then monitor the state’s progress toward their stated goals. Each month, CMS updates on its website each state’s progress in meeting standards for priority items. CMS reports that this has increased transparency and incentivized states to improve their T-MSIS data quality.

Enhancing Program Effectiveness

By improving their T-MSIS data quality, states can do their part to improve research and policies designed to benefit their most vulnerable residents. Learn more about the case for clean T-MSIS data in improving care quality and program integrity in our recent blog, “T-MSIS: It’s More Than Just a Federal Requirement.”