Medicaid benefit will expand community-based services to disabled

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A new Medicaid option will allow states to provide home- and community-based care services for beneficiaries with disabilities or chronic diseases. But it is too early to know how many states will take advantage of it, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

Beginning in January 2007, states will we able to amend their state plans to adopt this option, which was approved as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 for HCBS for disabled patients. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to release guidance for states on this option later this summer, according to the report.

Over the past few years, several states have applied for waivers to allow the elderly in nursing homes to receive care elsewhere. The state of New York hopes to get a federal waiver this summer that will allow up to 5,000 elderly and disabled nursing home residents on Medicaid to get the same care somewhere else.