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On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a strategy to help providers comply with the home- and community-based services final rule. The deadline to fully transition to the rule — first introduced in 2014 — is March 17, 2023.

In order to continue receiving HCBS reimbursement beyond the transition period, CMS said the following guidelines must be met:

  • States must receive final Statewide Transition Plan approval. 
  • States and providers must be in compliance with all settings criteria not directly impacted by public health emergency disruptions, including public health emergency (PHE)-related workforce challenges. 
  • Time-limited corrective action plans (CAPs) are available to states to authorize additional time to achieve full compliance with settings criteria that are directly impacted by PHE disruptions.

All states will receive final approval of their statewide transition plans by the end of the transition period. That will ensure that they have assessed individual agencies and have identified steps those firms need to take to come into compliance with the new rule. CMS is urging states that don’t currently have a transition plan in place, to submit a draft plan by the end of July.

CMS said all states and agencies must be fully compliant on March 17, 2023, but will allow for some flexibility beyond the transition period if states need additional time due to problems associated with the COVID-19 PHE.

CMS said the HCBS rule is intended to help beneficiaries remain independent and continue participating in their communities.