NSCLC: State Officials, Providers, and Disability and Aging Groups Praise CMS Guidance on HCBS Rule

From our colleagues at NSCLC: 

Since Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) release of final regulations regarding the settings of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rule in January 2014, there has been some confusion among providers, families, advocates, people with disabilities and their families over whether people will lose services on March 17, 2015 if their HCBS setting is out of compliance with the new rule. In fact, the rule gives states significantly more time to transition.

To address this confusion, CMS recently released new guidance (Questions and Answers Regarding Home and Community-Based Settings). NSCLC – with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities, the provider association of the American Network of Community Options and Resources, and a coalition of other disability and aging advocates – released a joint statement regarding this guidance that should put an immediate stop to any misunderstandings regarding continuity of service. See below for a summary of key dates and actions in the guidance:  

The facts:

  • CMS finalized the rule in January 2014, and it came into effect in March 2014.
  • The rule gives states time to “transition” to meet the rule’s settings requirements.  State have to comply with the other parts of the rule – such as person-centered planning and conflict-free case management – as of March 2014.  
  • Each state is writing a plan for complying with the settings requirements, called a “transition plan.”  The public must have a chance to comment on the plan.  Plans must be submitted to CMS by March 2015.
  • Each plan can be up to 5 years in length from the time the rule took effect in March of 2014. Most states that have written draft plans so far expect to reach full compliance by March 2019.
  • During the transition period, states can continue to use Medicaid to fund all settings, including those that do not yet meet the rule’s requirements.
  • Each state and provider will work together to make sure they comply with the rule. States, providers, and advocates expect this to happen over the next four years.

To learn more about the rules, see full joint statement, www.Medicaid.gov, and www.HCBSAdvocacy.org.

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