HHS Approves Arkansas’ Medicaid Waiver to Provide Medically Necessary Housing and Nutrition Support Services
Arkansas will use its Medicaid demonstration to test health-related social needs interventions as key components of overall health for certain groups of Medicaid beneficiaries
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved an amendment to Arkansas’ Medicaid section 1115 demonstration that will test innovative interventions to address housing and food insecurity, as well as other critical health-related social needs. Like recently approved section 1115 demonstration initiatives in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Oregon, the amendment to the Arkansas Health and Opportunity for Me (ARHOME) demonstration will drive better health and wellbeing outcomes for beneficiaries in crisis by providing medically necessary support services, particularly for young people, pregnant and postpartum women, and those dealing with mental illness and substance use diagnoses.
“Everyone deserves the chance to receive the care they need to live safe and healthy lives,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to expanding access to health care, and strengthening Medicaid is key to this effort. We are proud to work with Arkansas to further these efforts and urge other states to do the same.”
“With this demonstration, Arkansas has taken a significant step toward advancing whole-person care for people with health-related social needs,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “We are glad to partner with the state to advance services and supports that can expand access to high-quality, affordable care targeting a person’s comprehensive health needs.”
The approved amendment will address various health-related social needs among targeted populations through coverage of intensive care coordination and other person-centered supports provided by “Life360 HOMEs.” Life360 HOMEs are designed to connect people to necessary health services and community supports while actively engaging participants in promoting their own health
The state will work with local hospitals and community partners to advance three types of Life360 HOMEs:
- Rural Life360 HOMEs will support individuals with serious mental illness and/or substance use diagnoses who live in rural areas;
- Maternal Life360 HOMEs will support individuals with high-risk pregnancies up to two years postpartum; and
- Success Life360 HOMEs will support young adults (ages 19-24) at high-risk for long-term poverty and poor health outcomes due to prior incarceration, involvement with the foster care system, or involvement with the juvenile justice system, as well as veterans ages 19-30 who are at high risk of homelessness.
CMS is also authorizing Arkansas to provide or increase coverage for certain other services that address health-related social needs for Life 360 HOME beneficiaries. These include critical nutritional services, case management, outreach, and education. CMS’ approval of these services is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing diet-related diseases and improving health and nutrition, as highlighted in the Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. In addition, CMS is authorizing funding for certain infrastructure investments related to health-related social needs. Consistent with CMS requirements for section 1115 demonstrations, Arkansas is required to monitor the demonstration systematically and have a rigorous independent evaluation conducted to determine outcomes and impacts.
Lack of stable housing and nutrition can impede the ability to enroll in health care coverage and access needed care. This can create physical, social, or emotional distress that fuels the cycle of health inequity. The support services CMS approved in this demonstration will test interventions to stabilize and improve the housing and nutrition of eligible Medicaid enrollees and increase the likelihood they will keep receiving and benefitting from services to which they are entitled.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, thanks to the American Rescue Plan and other efforts, more Americans than ever before have health care coverage. Today’s approval will build on these efforts and is consistent with President Biden’s executive order directing federal agencies to take action to expand affordable, quality health coverage, including by strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
For additional information about the ARHOME section 1115 demonstration, please visit Medicaid.gov.