HHS Announces Extra Year To Use American Rescue Plan Funding

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According to a June 3 press release, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that states now have an additional year—through March 31, 2025—to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. The funding is meant to be used toward improving home- and community-based services (HCBS) for individuals with Medicaid who need long-term support and services. The Biden-Harris Administrated is committed to strengthening the healthcare workforce, assisting individuals get care in the setting they choose, and reducing “unnecessary reliance on institutional care.”

The release states that “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the risks of institutional and congregate settings for older Americans and people with disabilities, underscoring the urgent need to expand access to high-quality HCBS to improve outcomes for people who need long-term services and supports. HCBS allow millions of Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own home or community rather than institutions or other isolated settings.”

That said, “As the primary funder of HCBS nationally, Medicaid plays a critical role in supporting states’ efforts to strengthen these services for their beneficiaries. Section 9817 of the American Rescue Plan provides states with a temporary 10 percentage point increase to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for certain Medicaid expenditures for HCBS — an estimated $12.7 billion. As a result of the ARP increase in the federal matching rate on activities, states originally had a three-year period — from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2024 — to use the available state funds, attributable to the ARP’s increased FMAP, on activities to enhance, expand, or strengthen HCBS in Medicaid. The extended timeframe, of an additional year, will help to facilitate high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services for people with Medicaid. This will allow Medicaid beneficiaries to remain in the setting of their choice—whether it is their home or another setting—and remain a valued part of their communities.”

The ARP funding aims to allow states to address HCBS workforce and structural issues and also expand states’ capability to provide critical services, including the needs of family caregivers and individuals on HCBS waitlists. Additionally, states are able to use the funds for HCBS activities that best suit their residents. For example, providing more support to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through providing additional support and services.  

“Critical safeguards are in place through the ARP legislation and CMS’ guidance to certify that these funds are used appropriately,” the release adds. “Between now and the March 2025 deadline, CMS will continue to monitor states’ progress and compliance to ensure funding is used to strengthen HCBS under their Medicaid program.”

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure was quoted in the release saying that “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to expanding access to home- and community-based care for people with disabilities and older adults. 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.”



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