Home Health

CMS sets expectations for how states (and providers) should spend new HCBS funding

CMS has issued guidance to states on how it expects officials to administer new federal spending for home and community-based services (HCBS). The guidance also suggests how agencies should spend the money if they end up benefiting from this new federal aid.

Up to $11.4 billion in funding was included in the American Rescue Plan signed into law in March, but will require partnering states to spend the money on additional HCBS programs, not as a replacement for existing funding.

In the guidance released Thursday, CMS also noted the types of programs it would like to see supported by the new spending. That includes home health services, private duty nursing and more.  

CMS noted its support for using the money for increased payment rates for home health agencies providing HCBS, among other possible uses for the money.

“CMS expects that the agency, organization, beneficiary or other individuals that receive payment under such an increased rate will increase the compensation it pays its home health workers or direct support professionals,” according to the policy guidance.

Other home health spending suggestions for states included:

  • The purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and routine COVID-19 testing.
  • Training and incentive payments to recruit and retain home health workers and direct support professionals.