CMS approves Colorado’s HCBS spending plan

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) announced Thursday it received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Colorado Joint Budget Committee for its $530 million Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) spending plan.

 

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In a statement released Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera emphasized the support the plan provides for Colorado’s “unsung heroes” — the direct care workforce.

“I am appreciative of the Joint Budget Committee for approving the robust spending plan submitted by the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. A portion of this funding will rapidly be put to use to shore up the direct care workforce. These unsung heroes have long cared for and supported Colorado’s aging and disability communities, including during the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The plan, which HCPF submitted to CMS in June, takes advantage of the temporary 10% Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase ARPA provides for HCBS initiatives during the pandemic.

The plan contains funding for 72 different initiatives, which HCPF categorized into seven broad areas. The funds allocated to each initiative are:

  • $242 million for strengthening the workforce and enhancing rural sustainability
  • $90 million for investing in tools and technology 
  • $66 million for supporting post-COVID recovery and HCBS innovation
  • $57 million for improving access to HCBS for underserved populations
  • $20 million for improving crisis and acute services
  • $10 million for strengthening case management redesign
  • $9 million for expanding emergency preparedness

The department anticipates the plan to save Colorado $223 million in FY 2021-22, and result in the following available funding over the next several years:

 

Image: HCPF

 

Kim Bimestefer, executive director of HCPF, also praised the approval in a statement released Thursday:

“We are excited to invest these federal ARPA dollars in initiatives that will transform the industry in a way that improves the health, well-being and satisfaction of the Coloradans who access our home and community-based services, especially older adults and individuals with disabilities.”