Ohio's Home and Community-Based Services Updates - October 2021
Much has happened since Governor DeWine signed the budget on July 1st, 2021. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest things happening in HCBS right now:
HCBS Funding in Biden’s Budget—You may remember that President Biden had proposed significant increases—approximately $400 million—for HCBS in his budget. Unfortunately, Congress has not made a lot of progress on passing this budget, so there are still more updates to come.
What can I do?—One of the best things you can do to help HCBS funding be included in the final budget is easy: reach out to your State Senators and Representatives! You can send them an email or simply call one of their offices. You can find your Senators here and your Representatives here.
HCBS Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—While states are responsible for running our Medicaid programs, they share those costs with the federal government. The way they do this is complicated (no surprise there), but here’s a summary: the federal government gives each state a percentage of their costs back to them, which we call the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP). The percentage is different for each state, and it changes based on different factors. This year, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (also called ARPA) and this gave states a temporary 10% increase in FMAP ($460 million in Ohio) to use on HCBS with the current FMAP. States must use the funds in addition to the usual funding, not as a replacement for it.
While this temporary boost is awesome news, we’re still waiting for more information on how Ohio will spend the extra money. States have up until March 2024 to use the increase, and Ohio released a basic plan back in June (available by PDF here). You can learn more about how this increase may impact both individuals with disabilities and providers in Disability Rights Ohio’s April 1st blog here.
What can I do?—If you haven't already, consider joining the Ohio HCBS Coalition. We will send out opportunities for advocacy as soon as we learn of them. Additionally, the Coalition will advocate directly to the administration on how the FMAP funding will be used—join us at our next meeting to learn more!
Rate Increase from State Budget—
You probably heard some conflicting news about the rate increases for HCBS in the state budget. After the House & Senate approved the state budget, Governor DeWine vetoed those increases from the bill. However, DeWine vetoed them only because he did not agree with the idea of writing the specific increases into the law itself. DeWine said that his administration would still make the rate increases, and they will happen next month. Instead of splitting the increase into two years (2% the first year, then 4% the next year), the state has decided that the 6.1% increase will happen all at once in November 2021!
What can I do?—The Coalition will closely follow the implementation of these increases, and we'll send out updates to members on how you can best advocate for fair implementation. This will be a big topic as we head into November!
You can expect more updates soon, especially as Coalition members plan to meet again next month. To learn more about the Coalition and how to join, check out our Get Involved page.