As we mentioned in an earlier post, recent federal funding is available for states’ Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs. This funding provides real opportunities for states looking to create or strengthen their programs.
In a recent letter to Medicaid Directors across the country, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) outline guidelines and list options for state governments to consider when they apply for new funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
We are encouraged specifically by one of those funding options. It’s a program focused on improving quality in state home and community-based services (HCBS) programs, and we recommend states give it serious consideration.
Whether a state wants to build HCBS capacity or to re-balance its Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) programs to enhance quality, we know standards and measures are key to success.
So,to share intelligence on these new funding opportunities and to illustrate the value of standards and measures, NCQA recently hosted a webinar about tools that standardize and drive quality improvement.
The panel included:
- Gary Jessee, Managing Director, Sellers Dorsey
- Ginger Wettingfeld, Director, Healthcare Reform Division, Alabama Medicaid Agency
- Larry Appel, SFHM Medical Director, Office of Long-Term Living, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services .
Attendees learned about NCQA’s LTSS Measures and its Case Management for Long Term Service and Supports (CM-LTSS) Accreditation. The measures assess how many members have a documented comprehensive LTSS assessment and care plan and whether that plan had been shared with the member’s primary care physician. CM-LTSS Accreditation sets a framework for organizations by evaluating how they conduct assessments, manage transitions and, of course, how they measure quality and pursue improvement.
The panel also discussed how state agencies are enhancing their programs to improve quality. State governments and health plans increasingly employ incentive programs to improve quality at the point of care. Many states actively set standardized quality benchmarks to accurately track quality improvement and assess high quality.
Right now, 29 states use NCQA Health Plan Accreditation to establish standards and drive improvement. Six states require NCQA’s LTSS Distinction, three require Multicultural Health Care Distinction and two require CM-LTSS. Alabama’s Medicaid Agency required CM-LTSS for its Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in 2019. The agency’s director described the state’s AAAs as “proof of concept” and endorsed CM-LTSS with a list of advantages the program delivered as the state developed its program.
That’s the quick summary of the webinar. It is posted so you can listen for yourself. It’s free but could prove exceptionally valuable for states looking to enhance their HCBS programs and to improve the overall quality of care for their most vulnerable citizens.