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California’s State Plan Amendment (SPA) to enact the Community First Choice Option was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Sept. 4. The SPA approval will provide the state with an estimated $573 million in additional federal funds during the first 2 years of implementation in its effort to continue to prioritize an individual’s ability to reside in one’s community rather than in institutional care.
Community First Choice will enhance Medi-Cal’s ability to provide community-based personal attendant services and support to seniors and persons with disabilities to certain enrollees who otherwise would need institutional care.
"Expanding the array of services available in the community will lead to improved outcomes for IHSS recipients and to an overall better quality of life," said Michael Weston, deputy director of public affairs for the Department of Social Services.
California will immediately begin claiming the Community First Choice federal funding, which is retroactive for most In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program services provided since Dec. 1, 2011.“California continues to lead the nation in health care reform and today’s approval reinforces the support and confidence the federal government has in the Golden State,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley said in a release. “We look forward to working with our state and federal partners as we move to provide seniors and people with disabilities with better options for self-directed care.”