The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was created in 1977 to administer the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which together provide health care coverage to millions of Americans. Medicare provides hospital, medical, and prescription coverage for people over age 65 and for people with certain disabilities; Medicaid provides health care for people with low incomes (as defined by the government). CMS also runs the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which in partnership with state legislations provides health care for children and pregnant women that don't qualify for Medicaid. CMS is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
CMS operates through 10 offices in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and New York.
CMS' offices are organized by business line (Medicare, financial management and fee-for-service operations, Medicaid and children's health, and quality improvement). Additionally, the federal agency supervises the regulation of laboratory testing, certifies nursing homes, and performs research.
CMS' total annual budget for 2013 is $526.2 billion, an increase of $20.3 billion above its 2012 budget.
Like most government agencies, CMS's strategy is to utilize technology, either through the Internet or through more specific social media methods, to better reach out to its beneficiaries and customers. In 2012 it redesigned the medicare.gov website in an attempt to make the content more accessible and easier to navigate.
CMS also partners with other organizations to extend its reach. In 2012 nearly 90 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 States and Washington, DC. ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare.