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CMS Bulletin Offers Guidance for Home Care Wage Rule Compliance

January 21, 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 8 released an important bulletin (pdf) to states, reminding them that CMS is available to provide technical assistance to help them comply with a new home care wage rule.

The new rule, which grants federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, took effect in October 2015 and is being fully enforced as of January 1. It requires third-party home care employers to pay their workers at least the federal minimum wage, as well as time-and-a-half for overtime.

The CMS bulletin informs states that the agency is available to help states modify reimbursement and other program policies to comply with the wage rule.

Additionally, the bulletin says that all approved modifications to reimbursement methodology made to Medicaid State Plans for the purpose of complying with the home care rule will be retroactive to the beginning of the quarter in which they were submitted.

States can therefore be in full compliance with the January 1 enforcement date by submitting the necessary paperwork by March 31.

Modifications made to Medicaid Waiver program reimbursements to come into compliance with the new rule will not be made retroactive, but will benefit from expedited review (30 days instead of 90).

— by Matthew Ozga

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