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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.

FAQ Library

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Both the State Medicaid Director Letter describing the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) section 1115 demonstration opportunity and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) SUD Implementation Plan template, reference needs assessment tools and program standards established by the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Is a state required to reference or rely on the ASAM Criteria in implementing an SUD section 1115 demonstration?

No, a state is not required to reference or rely on the ASAM Criteria however, states should use guidelines/patient placement tools that are comparable to ASAM criteria. The State Medicaid Director Letter describing the SUD section 1115 demonstration opportunity references the ASAM Criteria as a recognized standard and an example of a patient placement assessment tool that states could use. Participating states are expected to ensure that providers use an SUD-specific, multi-dimensional assessment tool in determining the types of treatments and level of care a beneficiary with an SUD may need. The ASAM Criteria is referenced as a representative example of such an assessment tool. 

Some states proposed alternative needs assessment tools. CMS reviews each alternative proposal on an individual basis, and CMS has so far determined that those alternatives are comparable to the ASAM Criteria and meet the expectations for this demonstration initiative. In addition, participating states are expected to implement provider qualifications for residential treatment providers that reflect well-established standards for these treatment settings. Again, the ASAM Criteria is referenced as an example of a resource that states may use for determining those standards.

FAQ ID:93681

Must a Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) member have a documented care plan to be eligible for the LTSS Shared Care Plan with Primary Care Practitioner (PCP) measure?

Yes, the denominator for this measure includes all MLTSS members with a care plan meeting the criteria outlined in the LTSS Comprehensive Care Plan and Update measure core rate.

FAQ ID:89201

Who is considered a primary care practitioner (PCP) for the purpose of calculating the LTSS Shared Care Plan with Primary Care Practitioner (PCP) measure?

A PCP is a physician, non-physician (for example, nurse practitioner, physician assistant), or group of providers who offers primary care medical services. However, a care plan can be shared with a medical care practitioner other than the PCP if the practitioner is identified by the member as the primary point of contact for their medical care. Therefore, any medical care practitioner identified by the member as the primary point of contact for their medical care is considered their PCP for the purpose of calculating the measure.

FAQ ID:89206

Why is the care plan shared just with the primary care practitioner (PCP) or other documented medical care practitioner identified by the Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) member?

The care plan is shared with the PCP to promote coordination of medical and LTSS services.

FAQ ID:89211

What are some acceptable ways to share the care plan with the primary care practitioner (PCP)? What if the Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) participant refuses to share it?

The measure specifications allow sharing the care plan by mail, fax, secure email, or mutual access to an electronic portal or Electronic Health Record. Members who refuse to share their care plan are excluded from the measure denominator, but there must be documentation in the record that the member refused to share the care plan (noting verbal refusal suffices). The rate of exclusion due to a member refusing to share their care plan with the PCP should also be reported along with the measure performance rate.

FAQ ID:89216

Does the full Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) care plan need to be shared with the primary care practitioner (PCP) to meet the numerator criteria for the LTSS Shared Care Plan with Primary Care Practitioner (PCP) measure?

No. MLTSS plans are not required to share the full care plan with the PCP or other documented medical care practitioner. MLTSS plans may choose which parts of the care plan are most relevant to the practitioner.

FAQ ID:89221

Is the provider's signature on the shared Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) care plan required?

No, the LTSS Shared Care Plan with Primary Care Practitioner (PCP) measure only looks to see that a care plan was sent to a primary care practitioner (PCP) by the MLTSS plan. No signature from the PCP is necessary to count towards the numerator of this measure.

FAQ ID:89226

Do plans need to get a release of information from the Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) member to share the care plan with the primary care practitioner (PCP)?

There is no need for a release of information. If a member gives the plan the contact information for their PCP, the plan can share information with that PCP. Plans or other providers of LTSS should try to coordinate LTSS services with medical services, even if they are not the primary payer for medical services for the member. Plans that do not know the member’s PCP can/should ask the member to identify their PCP and request their contact information. The measure is intended to determine whether plans tried to connect with the medical care provider. There is an exclusion in this measure for members who refuse to have their care plan shared with the PCP, so if the member refuses, this should be documented, and such members are excluded from the measure rate.

FAQ ID:89231

How can residential and adult day settings comply with the HCBS settings requirements while serving Medicaid beneficiaries who may wander or exit-seek unsafely?

Many Medicaid beneficiaries living with dementia and other conditions can have a heightened risk of wandering, or attempting to leave a setting (exit-seeking) unsafely. These behaviors are not necessarily constant or permanent.

Wandering occurs in ways that may appear aimless but often have purpose. People may wander simply because they want to move. Sometimes wandering responds to an unmet basic need like human contact, hunger, or thirst; a noisy or confusing environment; or because people are experiencing some type of distress, like pain or the need to use the toilet. Wandering can be helpful or dangerous, depending on the situation. Although people who wander may gain social contact, exercise, and stimulation, they can also become lost or exhausted.

Person-centered planning, staff training and care delivery are core components of provider operations to meet HCBS requirements while responding to unsafe wandering and exit-seeking behavior in an individualized manner.3 Person-centered services involve knowing individuals, and their conditions, needs, and history and using this knowledge to create strategies to assure that individuals are free to interact with others and the community in the most integrated way possible and still prevent injury for those who wander or exit-seek unsafely. Home and community-based settings must demonstrate that person-centered planning drives their operations and services for each person. The beneficiaries the settings serve must drive the person-centered planning process with assistance from a trained, competent, assessor, care manager or similar facilitator. The beneficiary should be able to get input from people who are important to him or her, while still reflecting the individual's input as much as possible. Person-centered plans and related decisions should be consistent with the person's needs and preferences, and informed by family members, caregivers, and other individuals that the beneficiary has identified as playing an important role in his or her life. The role of person-centered planning and the process for realizing this role is described in the final HCBS regulation and in guidance found on the Medicaid.gov website.

Person-centered service plans should be developed with the individual, and include their representatives as appropriate. The person-centered planning process should include a process that:

  • is informed by discussions with family members or other individuals who are important to them about key aspects of daily routines and rituals;
  • focuses on an individual's strengths and interests;
  • outlines the individual's reaction to various communication styles;
  • identifies the individual's favorite things to do and experience during the day, as well as experiences that contribute to a bad day;
  • proposes experiences that the person may enjoy as community engagement, and describes those factors or characteristics that the individuals would find most isolating or stigmatizing

To promote effective communication, which is at the core of person-centered planning and service delivery, provider staff serving beneficiaries who wander or exit-seek should receive education and training about how to communicate with individuals living with conditions that may lead to unsafe wandering or exit-seeking. Training programs may include important information on issues such as:

  • The most common types of conditions, diseases and disorders that lead to wandering behavior; the various stages of key conditions that result in increased risk of wandering and what to expect over time; and the potential impact of these conditions on the individual's ability to function.
  • Differentiating between most common types of conditions, diseases and disorders that lead to wandering behavior from serious mental illness or adverse environmental conditions such as overmedication or neglect.
  • Assessing individuals for co-occurring conditions (including barriers to sufficient adaptive skills and the ability to communicate with others) that increase risk for unsafe wandering or exit-seeking.
  • Understanding situations that led to past instances of unsafe wandering or exit-seeking or the desire to engage in them;
  • Principles of person-centered care planning and service delivery;
  • Strategies for identifying and handling behavioral expressions of need or distress.

In addition to previous guidance provided by CMS on the implementation of person-centered planning requirements outlined in the federal HCBS regulations defining home and community-based settings, integration of the following promising practices around person-centered planning specifically for people who wander or exit-seek unsafely is recommended:

  • Assessing the patterns, frequency, and triggers for unsafe wandering or exit-seeking through direct observation and by talking with the person exhibiting such behaviors, and, when appropriate, their families.
  • Using this baseline information to develop a person-centered plan to address unsafe wandering or exit-seeking, implementing the plan, and measuring its impact.
  • Using periodic assessments to update information about an individual's unsafe wandering or exit-seeking, and adjust the person-centered plan as necessary.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94926

Can provider-controlled settings with Memory Care Units with controlled-egress comply with the new Medicaid HCBS settings rule? If so, what are the requirements for such settings?

Yes, but only if controlled-egress is addressed as a modification of the rules defining home and community-based settings, with the state ensuring that the provider complies with the requirements of 42 C.F.R. 441.301(c)(4)(F), 441.530(a)(vi)(F) and 441.710(a)(vi)(F). Any setting using controlled-egress should assess an individual that exhibits wandering (and the underlying conditions, diseases or disorders) and document the individual's choices about and need for safety measures in his or her person-centered care plan. The plan should document the individual's preferences and opportunities for engagement within the setting's community and within the broader community.

Settings with controlled-egress should be able to demonstrate how they can make individual determinations of unsafe exit-seeking risk and make individual accommodations for those who are not at risk. Should a person choose a setting with controlled-egress, the setting must develop person-centered care plans that honor autonomy as well as minimize safety risks for each person, consistent with his or her plan goals. For example, spouses or partners who are not at risk for exit-seeking and who reside in the same setting should have the ability to come and go by having the code to an electronically controlled exit. Technological solutions, such as unobtrusive electronic pendants that alert staff when an individual is exiting, may be used for those at risk, but may not be necessary for others who have not shown a risk of unsafe exit-seeking. Importantly, such restrictions may not be developed or used for non-personcentered purposes, such as punishment or staff convenience.

In situations where a setting uses controlled-egress on an individual basis to support individuals who wander or exit-seek unsafely, consistent with our regulations, the person-centered plan must document the individual's:

  • Understanding of the setting's safety features, including any controlled-egress,
  • Choices for prevention of unsafe wandering or exit-seeking
  • Consent from the individual and caregivers/representatives to controlled-egress goals for care
  • Services, supports, and environmental design that will enable the individual to participate in desired activities and support their mobility
  • Options that were explored before any modifications occurred to the person-centered plan

Regulations require the person-centered plan to be reviewed at least annually with the Medicaid beneficiary and his or her representative, to determine whether it needs revision. If a secured memory unit is no longer necessary to meet the individual's needs, the individual must be afforded the appropriate services in that setting to integrate into the community and exercise greater autonomy as well as being offered the option of a setting that does not have controlled egress.

To assure fidelity in complying with the regulations defining home and community-based settings, Memory Care Units should attempt to implement as many options as possible that are outlined within this guidance regarding staffing, activities and environmental design to assure optimal community integration for HCBS beneficiaries.

Note that the regulations provide that Medicaid beneficiaries receiving services in home and community-based settings must be free from coercion and restraint. Consistent with this, home and community-based settings should not restrict a participant within a setting, unless such restriction is documented in the person-centered plan, all less restrictive interventions have been exhausted, and such restriction is reassessed over time.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94976

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