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December 21, 2023

Barragán, Disability Rights California Statement on California’s Expansion of Capacity in Home & Community-Based Alternatives Waiver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

20 December 2023

Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44), and Andrew J. Imparato, Executive Director of Disability Rights California (DRC), released the following statement regarding the announcement from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved DHCS’s request to increase slot capacity for the Home and Community Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver over the next four years.

“We commend California’s increase in capacity for the Home & Community Based Alternatives Waiver. However, 7,200 slots distributed in 1800-slot increments over four years is not sufficient to address the need. The waiting list continues to grow and the additional allocation of waiver slots will not clear the current waiting list of almost 4,000 people until 2026. A program like the HCBA Waiver is critical for medically fragile children as this is their only pathway to receive services at home rather than in an institution. It also is the only option to keep older Americans with Alzheimer’s or dementia in their own homes with 24-hour care. We believe there is still a critical need to increase HCBA Waiver slots even more to ensure no Californian is forced to wait years to receive the services they need to live in the community. We continue to recommend more investment in this essential program to increase the number of HCBA waiver slots sufficient to clear the waiting list immediately, with the ability to raise the cap as needed to meet the demand for this program.” 

In November 2023, Rep. Barragán led 22 other members of the California Congressional Delegation in a letter to Governor Newsom, urging the state to expand the HCBA Waiver to clear the current waiting list for critically needed HCBA services.  

The HCBA Waiver allows Californians to use federal, Medicaid-funded Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) as an alternative to nursing homes and other institutional care facilities. The program serves children, adults, and older Americans with disabilities who qualify for an institutional level of care, and who need home and community-based services to continue to live at home.