Last week AHCCCS put out an under-stated media release announcing that CMS approved their Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Spending Plan, which would use $1.5B in mostly American Rescue Plan Act funds over the next 2 years to improve Home and Community Based Services for folks in their Long Term Care Program (ALTCS). Even though this is mostly federal money (it will require some state match) implementing it will require approval of the Legislature and Governor.  We will play a role in trying to make that happen.

Here’s a link to their 30-page plan which is of course written in dense AHCCCS/CMS language – but the takeaway is that they would bump up the per member per month capitation rates by 10% and then have some performance expectations tied to those funds in areas like:

  • Promoting stabilization, access to supportive services, and workforce retention/ consistency to improve member outcomes ($1B)
  • Expanding access to care from a “well-trained, highly-skilled workforce” ($217M)
  • Supporting individual self-sufficiency by connecting members to technological tools and resources that promote independence ($96M)
  • Using new technology to promote care coordination and seamless communication ($74M)
  • Funding local initiatives and community-specific programming to improve member health ($62M)
  • Empowering parents and families to provide care and meet the needs of their kids ($27M)
  • Assessing member engagement and satisfaction to better understand needs, prevent abuse and neglect, and identify opportunities for improvement ($5M)
  • Creating tools that strengthen quality monitoring and prevent abuse and neglect ($3.2M)

AHCCCS’ spending plan has all the particulars for how they want to spend this money in the various categories, but the biggest category by far is the first bullet; to build the caregiver workforce.

The detail on the spending plan is for temporary payments to providers for sign-on bonuses, retention payments, mileage reimbursement, reimbursement for tuition or continuing education, reimbursement for childcare and/or enhanced insurance coverage. 

Because the money ends in March of 2024 “AHCCCS will establish appropriate criteria to ensure that provider recruitment and retention strategies do not create an expectation of ongoing benefits, given the time-limited nature of this funding opportunity“.

For more information about the spending plan and CMS’ response, please visit the AHCCCS ARPA webpage.