New tools aid HCBS choices

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State Medicaid programs will have greater ability in providing home- and community-based services to elderly and disabled individuals, according to new regulations.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued two final rules governing how states spend Medicaid funds on home- and community-based services (HCBS). The first rule, known as the Home and Community-Based State Plan Services Program and Provider Payment Reassignments, lifts existing “cumbersome” eligibility requirements on HCBS and institutional care under the Medicaid waiver program.

Additionally, the Community First Choice Option rule establishes a new state option to provide HCBS, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both rules would give disabled and elderly individuals more alternatives to placement in skilled care facilities.
CMS sent the rules in mid-April to the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which had 60 days to review them prior to publishing them.