Headshot of CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure

Editor’s note: Read more about the quality measures, including industry reaction, here.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday released its first-ever home- and community-based services quality measure set in an effort to promote consistent quality measurement within and across state Medicaid HCBS programs.

“The measure set is intended to provide insight into the quality of HCBS programs and enable states to measure and improve health outcomes for people relying on long-term services and support (LTSS) in Medicaid,” the agency said. The measure set is voluntary “at this time,” CMS said.

Some assisted living communities provide HCBS such as personal care and supportive services to residents via state Medicaid waivers.

“Today’s announcement provides states with tools to better understand and compare health outcomes across groups receiving home- and community-based services,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “The use of consistent quality measures across the country is another step toward reducing health disparities and ensuring that people with disabilities and older adults enrolled in Medicaid have access to and receive high-quality services in the community.”

Nationally, more than seven million people receive HCBS under Medicaid, and Medicaid-funded HCBS accounts for $125 billion annually in state and federal spending, the agency said.

Forty-eight percent of all US assisted living communities are Medicaid-certified, according to the National Center for Assisted Living. More than 16% of assisted living residents rely on Medicaid to pay for daily services.

The agency said it “strongly encourages” states to use the standards to assess and improve quality and outcomes in their HCBS programs. CMS said it expects to update the measure set in the future, including adding newly developed measures that address measure gaps, as the field of HCBS measure development advances.

Read more about the quality measures, including industry reaction, here.

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