Health

CMS Offers Extra Year to Spend Increased Medicaid Home Care Funding

States will receive an additional year to use expanded funding for Medicaid services at home and in the community, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Friday.

The dollars will now be available through March 31, 2025 for states that need additional time, CMS wrote in a letter to Medicaid directors.

Last year, Congress granted states a 10 percentage point increase in Medicaid-compliant federal funds for spending on home and community services under the COVID-19 Relief Act. Initially, the states had until March 31, 2024 to spend the money.

“We’re addressing states’ concerns by giving states the time and resources to strengthen their connection to home and community care,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasur said in a press release.

States can use these funds to increase wages for homecare workers, invest in major repairs, expand homecare offerings, expand service eligibility, improve health equity, and support regulatory compliance.

As a condition of increasing eligible funds, states cannot set higher eligibility standards for Medicaid home health care, lower home and community fee rates, or reduce services. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have received approval for increased funding.

President Joe Biden’s administration has pushed for continued expansion of funding for home and community services, but the effort has stalled in the Senate. Last year, the administration asked for $400 billion to be included in the budget reconciliation package. In November, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide an additional $150 billion for home and community services, but the measure was defeated by the upper house.

Senate Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) and other supporters continue to press for more funds to support these services.

“Investment in home care is urgently needed. This will help people get back to work. This will give families peace of mind because they know their loved ones are being taken care of. who are women of color communities, a much needed and long overdue promotion,” Casey said in a press release in March.


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