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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Information Alert: CMS Issues Final Rule on Medicaid HCBS Programs

The Administration for Community Living has announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on Medicaid’s Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs. The rule, as part of the Affordable Care Act, is meant to support the Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Living Initiative. This initiative was launched in 2009 to “develop and implement innovative strategies to increase opportunities for Americans with disabilities and older adults to enjoy meaningful community living”.

Under the final rule, Medicaid programs must support home and community-based settings that serve as an alternative to institutional care and that take into account the quality of individuals’ experiences. The final rule includes a transitional period for states to ensure that their programs meet the home and community-based services settings requirements.

The final rule:

  • provides implementing regulations for new flexibilities enacted under the Affordable Care Act to offer expanded HCBS and to target services to specific populations;
  • defines and describes requirements for home and community-based settings;
  • specifies that service planning must be developed through a “person-centered planning process;” and
  • provides states with additional flexibilities when designing and administering HCBS waivers.

Questions and / or concerns about the regulation can be addressed to: hcbs@cms.hhs.gov.

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