Closing Plenary: HCA’s Charissa Fotinos gives update on Washington’s Medicaid initiatives


Shane Ersland


Charissa Fotinos, MD, Medicaid director for the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA), discussed Apple Health initiatives at the 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference.

HCA priorities include continuing Medicaid eligibility redetermination work around the public health emergency (PHE) unwind, Fotinos said. 

“A number of people who were covered during the PHE have lost Medicaid coverage. The vast majority of those folks never used services and never updated information once they enrolled in Apple Health. We knew [during] the first three months of the unwind (May, June, and July) we would see a lot of people leave Medicaid because they’ve just been enrolled and never really updated any of their information.”

— Fotinos

The number of residents losing health coverage continues to decrease as the process continues, and the HCA will continue to monitor the unwind’s impact, Fotinos said. 

Fotinos also discussed Washington’s Section 1115 Medicaid Transformation Project waiver and the availability of new services it will offer residents.

“We’ll have re-entry services for justice-involved individuals. We’ll have coverage of different health-related social needs. We’ll continue some of the foundational community supports programs with additional benefits. That is a huge amount of work that we’ll need to staff up and work with our federal partners to figure out the best way to measure and track these programs so that eventually, if through waiver authority they show benefit, we can move them over to regular Medicaid services.”

— Fotinos