Background: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved temporary changes to the OBRA and CHC 1915(c) waivers beginning March 6, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approval of these changes is covered under Appendix K, Emergency Preparedness and Response, which states may use during emergency situations to request amendments to their approved waivers. These changes addressed potential staffing shortages and the need for service provision not included in approved service descriptions to ensure participant health and safety needs could be accommodated for the duration of the COVID-19 statewide emergency. The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) extended the same flexibilities to the Act 150 Program. CMS approved an amendment to Appendix K which allowed some flexibilities to continue until March 5, 2021.
In January 2021, OLTL submitted another amendment to request extension of the Appendix K flexibilities until six months after the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). CMS has not yet approved the amendment; however, they recently instructed OLTL to assume that any previously approved flexibilities will continue to be approved in the interim.
Until further notice, the Appendix K flexibilities can continue in the CHC waiver, the OBRA waiver, and the Act 150 program. For additional details on the flexibilities, please go to the OLTL COVID19 Provider Resources web page to view the guidance updated for the CHC waiver on January 4, 2021 and updated for the OBRA waiver and Act 150 Program on January 15, 2021.
Additional questions should be directed to the OLTL Provider Helpline at 1-800-932-0939.