December 18, 2018

DHSS Opens Public Comment Period for Updates to Medicaid-Funded Home and Community Based Services Program

Seeks public input to ensure right services for the right people

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' (DHSS) Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS) recently completed a review of the Medicaid-funded home and community based services (HCBS) program to ensure the right services are provided for the right people. Beginning in the next calendar year, updates to the program will be implemented to better serve all Missourians.

HCBS ensure the most vulnerable elderly and adults with disabilities in Missouri can receive the care they need while remaining in their homes and communities. These services provide bathing assistance, help with meals, assistance with medications, and other tasks to meet the basic needs for those who are unable to do these things themselves - individuals who might otherwise require care in a more costly skilled facility setting.

However, the system developed to create eligibility requirements for the program has not been updated since its creation in 1982. This has resulted in a system which needs improvement because it allows for those who may not really need the help to be eligible and leaves those most in need without a way to access care.

DHSS has been working collaboratively with national experts and stakeholders in Missouri to make improvements to this part of the Medicaid system. \"Right now, overall Medicaid costs exceed more than one-third of the state's budget. To better ensure available resources are spent on those most in need, we must identify abusers and eliminate fraud in the program,\" said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. \"Updating these outdated standards of eligibility will help us achieve this in a fair manner.\"

After obtaining a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant through Princeton University's State Health Values and Strategies Team in late 2017, DHSS was able to research national best practices of eligibility processes and engage Missouri stakeholders in shaping the new requirements. DHSS hosted public stakeholder meetings in June, July and November to communicate national best practices, and gain feedback on ways to improve the system.  Over 1,100 Missourians attended these meetings to give their input.

The next step is the public release of the draft eligibility requirements and gaining public input.

\"Transparency is key to success. In order to make sure we have built something that gets the right services to the right people, we have to ask for perspectives of those who need care and those who provide the care, as well as all Missouri taxpayers,\" said Jessica Bax, Director of the DHSS' Division of Senior and Disability Services.

The Department will release the details of the new system to the public on December 26th. Citizens can go to to see the new requirements and provide their feedback.

The website will remain open for feedback until March 31, 2019.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.