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HHS Extends Deadline for States to Spend HCBS Funds

Analysis  |  By Laura Beerman  
   June 07, 2022

States now have through March 2025 to use American Rescue Plan dollars.

Home and community-based services (HCBS) allow Medicaid members in need of long-term services and support to receive care in their homes. Members who are older or have disabilities are the most impacted, with COVID-19 exacerbating not only these challenges but states' abilities to respond.

How states will use the funds

Specific program strains have included HCBS workforce shortages, pay and benefits for these workers, and infrastructure weakness. States can use the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to:

  • Deliver services to members who are currently on waitlists
     
  • Create more tailored service for all members
     
  • Provide added support for members with higher COVID-19 risks
     
  • Help members' families, who often provide HCBS care

Medicaid.gov has published each state's plan for spending its additional ARP funds.

HHS and CMS expresses support, issues guidance

In a press release, HHS and CMS report that this extended ability to use funds "marks the latest action by the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen the health care workforce, help people receive care in the setting of their choice, and reduce unnecessary reliance on institutional care."

In the same release, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra comments: "Everyone deserves the dignity to live in their own homes and communities, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting that right … Thanks to extended funding from President Biden's American Rescue Plan, we are expanding home- and community-based services for millions of aging Americans and people with disabilities across the country. We are working hand-in-hand with states to ensure they have the time and support they need to strengthen their home care systems and workforce."

CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure adds: "Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, these additional funds will help people with Medicaid to live and thrive in the setting of their choice … With this extension, we are addressing states' concerns, giving states the time and resources to strengthen connections to care at home and in communities."

HHS and CMS announced the ARP spending extension through a State Medicaid Director letter issued June 3, 2022.

Medicaid.gov has also published guidelines for the ARP spending, which CMS will monitor through the extended deadline.

Laura Beerman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

States now have another year to spend American Rescue Plan-generated funds to support Medicaid home and community-based services.

A temporary 10% increase in the federal medical assistance percentage generated the nearly $12.7 billion in additional money.

The added dollars can be used in multiple ways by State Medicaid programs, the primary provider of HCBS services nationally.


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