cms22The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule, which as part of the Affordable Care Act, supports the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Community Living Initiative, designed to develop and implement strategies to broaden opportunities for individuals with disabilities and older adults to enjoy meaningful community living.

The rule is intended to ensure that Medicaid’s home and community-based services programs offer full access to the benefits of community living and offer services in the most integrated settings, according to a news release from HHS. Under the final rule, HHS notes, Medicaid programs will 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 also includes a transitional period for states in order to ensure their programs meet the home and community-based services settings requirements. Technical assistance will be available for these states, HHS adds.

In the release, Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, emphasizes that, “People with disabilities and older adults have a right to live, work, and participate in the greater community. HHS, through its Community Living Initiative, has been expanding and improving the community services necessary to make this a reality…”

Sebelius adds that the CMS announcement will help ensure all individuals participating in Medicaid home and community-based services programs have full access to the benefits of community living.

HHS states that additionally, the final rule implements the Section 1915 (i) home and community-based services State Plan option. This encompasses new flexibility provided by the Affordable Care Act designed to provide additional options to states for expanding home and community-based services and to target services to specific populations. The release notes that the final rule also amends the 1915 (c) home and community-based services waiver program to add new person-centered planning requirements, allow states to blend multiple target populations in one waiver, and streamlines waiver administration.

Learn more about the final rule here

[Source: HHS]