Proposed Changes to the Adult Autism Waiver – Residential Services and Behavioral Specialist

On February 27, 2021, the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) released Appendices A through H of the proposed renewal of the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) for public comment. ODP had proposed that Behavioral Specialist services be fully integrated into Residential Habilitation and Life Sharing for participants receiving those services.  

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. In May 2021, CMS published SMD# 21-003 RE: Implementation of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Section 9817: Additional Support for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) during the COVID-19 Emergency.  The requirements outlined in this SMD include the use of the federal funds attributable to the increased federal medical assistance percentage rate for certain Medicaid expenditures for HCBS to supplement existing state funds expended for Medicaid HCBS in effect as of April 1, 2021.   

Due to this guidance, ODP will not be making changes to the service definitions or limitations for Residential Habilitation and Life Sharing at this time.  The Residential Habilitation service definition and limitations will remain the same as it is in the currently approved AAWThis means that Behavioral Specialist services will continue to be a discrete service for participants receiving Residential Habilitation or Life Sharing.  

The proposed rates published for public comment will not be implemented as they were tied to the proposed changes in Appendices A-H. The Initial Spending Plan submitted to CMS for the American Rescue Plan funds included a proposal to refresh the data for the ODP Fee Schedule rates and adjust rates as needed.  Further communication on the proposed rates will be released in the future. 

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