FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 16, 2021
THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES TELLS OKLAHOMA HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY IMPOSITION OF A
5-YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR THE RECEIPT OF HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED WAIVER SERVICES IS NOT PERMITTED
Today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a formal response to the June 1, 2021 letter sent by Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. (ODLC), the National Health Law Program, The ARC of the United States, The ARC of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. expressing concerns over the legality of the 5-year length of residency requirement imposed by the passage of HB2899. The CMS letter clearly affirms the length of residency requirement is not permitted.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) understands that House Bill 2899 places a five-year residency requirement on individuals with intellectual disabilities before they access Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires states to treat individuals who have moved recently to a state the same as individuals who have resided in the state for a longer period of time unless shown necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest. Consistent with this Constitutional prohibition, federal regulations also prohibit state Medicaid agencies from denying eligibility if the individual has not resided in the state for a specified period of time (See 42 CFR § 435.403(j)(1)). Thus, imposition of a 5-year residency requirement for the receipt of HCBS waiver services is not permitted.
ODLC’s Director of Litigation and Legal Services, Brian Wilkerson said, “We are pleased with the CMS response. We just don’t think they could have been any clearer, this type of requirement is simply not allowed under federal law. ODLC remains committed to ensuring that all Oklahomans with disabilities are able to access programs and services without discrimination or illegal delays.”
“We believe this CMS response demonstrates the vital role of organizations, like The Arc of Oklahoma and others who advocate for and with people with disabilities and their families to ensure timely access to the quality supports and services they need and want to achieve a life of personal significance,” said Lisa Turner, CEO for The Arc of Oklahoma.