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Updates on HCBS Wavier COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Flexibilities

The Ohio Department of Medicaid sent out the following message:

As part of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) made changes to its Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) 1915(c) waivers through Appendix K flexibilities. A full list of these flexibilities is on the ODM website.

The recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA) and the return to routine eligibility operations did not impact these HCBS Waiver Appendix K flexibilities. These flexibilities will expire six months after the PHE’s end. With President Biden’s recent announcement that the PHE will end on May 11, 2023, HCBS Waiver Appendix K Flexibilities will not expire until November 2023. 

The Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), the Department of Aging (ODA), and ODM are working together to identify which flexibilities will continue past November 2023. For the flexibilities that will expire in November, the agencies are developing a plan for resuming routine operations.

In the coming weeks we will continue to provide opportunities for partners, providers, and members to provide input on this process. We want to hear about your experiences and recommendations for potential ongoing changes to waiver programs, including topics such as family members serving as a direct care worker through agency employment. We will host webinars in March. More information on these webinars, including dates, times and registration, will be shared via email.

Stakeholders can also provide feedback through public comment periods for any waiver amendments or Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rule updates that may occur. As more information on the Appendix K flexibilities becomes available, it will be posted on the ODM webpage.