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For Immediate Release
April 12, 2017

Julie Naughton, Public Information Officer, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-1695 or (cell) 402-405-7202,

DHHS Gains Initial Approval of
Statewide Transition Plan

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has received initial approval of its Home and Community-Based Waivers Statewide Transition Plan, becoming one of 26 states that have garnered initial approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
"This a positive step thanks to the joint effort by the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and Medicaid and Long-Term Care, demonstrating our commitment to being one DHHS team and working across divisions to foster change,” said Courtney Phillips, chief executive officer of DHHS. “Our Department will continue working with our stakeholders and provider community as we move towards final approval."
The intent of CMS’s Home and Community-Based Services final rule is to move individuals receiving services and supports through Medicaid’s HCBS programs from institutional care settings, such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, into the community.  All states must implement a person-centered transition plan by March 17, 2019.
“Implementing this new federal rule requires significant change at the state level,” said Calder Lynch, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. “Receiving CMS’s approval for these plans takes a considerable amount of time and is a substantial undertaking, and our team has worked hard to get to this point.”
The Statewide Transition Plan, developed by the divisions of Medicaid and Long-Term Care and Developmental Disabilities in partnership with stakeholders, involves five home and community-based services waivers: HCBS for Aged and Adults and Children with Disabilities (commonly called the A&D Waiver), the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver, the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Children’s Comprehensive Services Waiver, the DD Adult Day Services Waiver and the DD Adult Comprehensive Services Waiver.
“Combined, these HCBS waivers support the needs of Nebraska’s seniors and people with disabilities to allow for alternatives to institutional care,” said Courtney Miller, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities. “The waiver rule changes take into consideration where people want to be. If they want to stay at home, we will help set up the support system they need to do so, or serve them in an assisted living setting, for example, where they feel comfortable and are able to stay engaged in the community.”
To gain final approval, DHHS will need to:
● Complete comprehensive assessments of all home and community-based settings, implement strategies for validating the results, and include the outcomes of these activities within the final plan; 
● Draft remediation strategies and a corresponding timeline that will resolve issues identified by the end of the home and community-based settings rule transition period;
● Outline a detailed plan for identifying settings that are presumed to have institutional characteristics, including qualities that isolate HCBS beneficiaries, as well as the proposed process for evaluating these settings and preparing for submission to CMS;
● Develop a process for communicating with beneficiaries that are currently receiving services in settings that the state has determined cannot or will not come into compliance with the home and community-based settings rule by the end of the transition period; and
● Establish ongoing monitoring and quality assurance processes that will ensure all settings providing HCBS continue to remain fully compliant with the rule in the future.