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CMS approves renewal of Medicaid’s five Home and Community Based Services waivers

Alignment to enhance services, efficiency

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this summer approved the renewal of all five Mississippi Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers, authorizing an alignment of the programs that will enhance services and increase administrative efficiency.

The five HCBS waivers currently include the Assisted Living Waiver, Elderly and Disabled (E&D) Waiver, Independent Living Waiver, Intellectual Disabilities/Developmental Disabilities Waiver, and Traumatic Brain Injury/Spinal Cord Injury Waiver. These programs offer in-home services to help members live at home or in a community setting rather than an institutional setting.

“Having these waivers on the same cycle will allow us to evaluate quality of care across all five programs and implement integrated quality improvement strategies on each simultaneously,” said Misty Jenkins, Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Solutions Manager for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM).

Jenkins added, “Aligning the waiver renewals also allows the state to make administrative practices more efficient, language more uniform, and reporting more streamlined.”

CMS’ approval of the E&D Waiver also authorized DOM to offer two new services for members enrolled in that program – Medication Management Services and Environmental Safety Services.

“The Medication Management Service will utilize community pharmacy providers to support medication adherence and minimize potentially preventable decline or hospitalization for members who have chronic medical illnesses and daily regimen of prescribed medications,” said Jenkins. “The new service also requires pharmacy providers to work with the member’s network of health care providers to make sure they have a comprehensive medication plan.”

Jenkins said when she and her colleagues began strategically thinking about regulatory changes being proposed at the federal level, they saw that aligning the waivers could make the implementation of any new requirements less burdensome for the state.

“By streamlining the processes and minimizing time spent on duplicative administrative work, DOM can better utilize resources to focus on achieving more positive outcomes in how we provide services to our members and work with our providers,” said Jenkins.

For providers, the updated waiver renewals include increased service rates to help address the recent workforce shortage issues in the health care industry.

To learn more about the Home and Community Based Services, visit

Published Aug. 18, 2023