The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) is a U.S. government agency that administers
Medicare and Medicaid programs, which are types of
insurance provided by the government.
More specifically, Medicare is the nationís largest healthcare program, which is provided
to people age 65 and over, those who have permanent kidney failure, and to certain
younger people with disabilities.
There are nearly 40 million people on Medicare and nearly 33 million are eligible for
Medicaid. Medicaid is insurance provided to low-income families with children, aged,
blind, or deaf people on Supplemental Security income, certain low-income pregnant
women and children, and certain people who have very high medical bills. Both Medicare
and Medicaid were enacted in 1965.
In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, CMS also helps to expand health coverage to 5
million uninsured children through the State Childrenís Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP). CMS also works with states to help them comply with certain parts of the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA is designed to
protect health insurance coverage for workers and families when they change or lose
their jobs. CMS helps implement this aspect of HIPAA and also helps in establishing
national standards for electronic health care transactions and helping insure that
personal health data is secure and private. headquarters is located in Baltimore,
Lastly, CMS is also responsible for quality improvement in health
care, such as performing surveys and certification of health care
facilities across the country.
The surveys help to determine if the health care facilities are
meeting the quality control standards set by CMS. CMS also
investigates complaints from the public about healthcare facilities.
CMS regulates all laboratory activities at health care centers in the
U.S. CMS helps to insure that medical care paid for under the
Medicare program is reasonably and medically necessary.
CMS also works to improve quality of health care by measuring and improving quality of care, making sure
services are available, educating health care providers about quality improvement opportunities, and
educating the public to make good health care choices and to understand their medical benefits.CMS was
formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).