The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) is applauding an effort by the co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), to ensure access to assisted living communities for individuals who rely on Medicaid to cover their long term care services. The senators sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging the agency to provide additional guidance regarding the implementation of a final rule defining home and community-based settings (HCBS) through the Medicaid waiver program.
“We are pleased that Senators Collins and McCaskill have focused on this issue, and we applaud their leadership to honor the care needs and wants of assisted living residents,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “NCAL hopes additional guidance from CMS will bring much-needed clarity, while recognizing assisted living as an integral part of the home and community.”
NCAL and its member assisted living providers collaborated with CMS and commented on the proposed rule before it was finalized in early 2014. Now, as state Medicaid programs prepare for implementation in 2019, NCAL and its state affiliates remain concerned that certain assisted living communities may be excluded from participating in the waiver program. With many assisted living residents unable to live on their own, this would only drive assisted living residents to more institutional settings, contrary to the intent of the HCBS rule. As a member of the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, the association is working with the coalition to educate CMS about the needs and demands of assisted living residents.
For more information about the HCBS final rule, please visit www.medicaid.gov/hcbs.