CMS and Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee Approve $530 Million ARPA Funds to Transform Colorado’s Home and Community-Based Services System
Plan will enhance, expand, and strengthen services over the next three years
DENVER, CO – The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department) has received approval from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to use $530 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to implement initiatives to enhance, expand, and strengthen Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in Colorado over the next three years.
HCBS enables Medicaid members to receive services in their own home or community setting rather than institutions. These programs serve a variety of populations, such as people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and/or behavioral health conditions. The Department’s plan outlines 72 initiatives that were created in partnership with stakeholders through a comprehensive process involving approximately 800 state experts, providers, advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders.
The Department’s plan categorizes these 72 funded initiatives into eight focus areas as prioritized by our stakeholders:
• Strengthen the Workforce & Enhance Rural Sustainability
• Improve Crisis & Acute Services
• Improve Access to HCBS For Underserved Populations
• Support Post-COVID Recovery & HCBS Innovation
• Strengthen Case Management Redesign
• Invest in Tools & Technology
• Expand Emergency Preparedness
• Enhance Quality Outcomes
“I am appreciative of the Joint Budget Committee for approving the robust spending plan submitted by the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. A portion of this funding will rapidly be put to use to shore up the direct care workforce. These unsung heroes have long cared for and supported Colorado’s aging and disability communities, including during the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera.
“We are excited to invest these federal ARPA dollars in initiatives that will transform the industry in a way that improves the health, well-being and satisfaction of the Coloradans who access our home and community-based services, especially older adults and individuals with disabilities,” said Kim Bimestefer, Executive Director, Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.
“The American Rescue Plan Act funding presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a lasting, transformational impact to the HCBS system to fundamentally improve the way that members receive care while also aiding in pandemic recovery for members and providers,” said Director Bonnie Silva, Office of Community Living for the Department. “We are thrilled to have received our approvals and can now begin to implement this important work in partnership with our stakeholders.”
“The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, the largest statewide disability run organization, is thrilled that our bipartisan budget committee passed the comprehensive spending package put forth by the Polis/Primavera administration,” said Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. “These funds will enable us to make needed changes and improvements to long-term services and supports, mental health and much more. This is a historic investment in a system that has been starved since its inception in the 80s. The innovations proposed will make the Colorado Medicaid system more sustainable and efficient for decades to come.”
“The department did an incredible job in a short time to prepare this plan,” said Senator Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale). “When this work is accomplished several years from now, many of our citizens who need support and those dedicated individuals who provide that support will have benefited tremendously.”
“Our direct care workers play an integral role in providing critical support for our community, spending long hours each day to ensure that the most vulnerable Coloradans are safe, healthy, and properly cared for,” said Senator Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City). “With this minimum wage increase, we can expand access to vital services for Coloradans in need and ensure top-notch care for seniors and individuals with disabilities. These workers deserve our thanks and appreciation, and this is just one way for us to show our immense gratitude for all that they do.”
For more information about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Department’s HCBS spending plan, please visit hcpf.colorado.gov/arpa.