HCBS Spending and Nursing Home Admissions for 1915(c) Waiver Enrollees
Medicaid waiver programs for home and community-based services (HCBS) have grown rapidly and serve a population at high risk for nursing home (NH) admission. This study utilized the Medicaid Analytic Extract (MAX) Personal Summary File and the NH Minimum Dataset (MDS) and tested whether higher levels of per beneficiary HCBS spending were associated with: 1) lower risk of long-term (90+ days) NH admission; and 2) higher functional/cognitive impairment at admission, for new enrollees in 1915(c) aged or aged and disabled waiver programs. Waiver enrollees in states and counties with higher HCBS spending were found to have lower risk of long-term NH admission and greater functional impairment at NH admission compared to waiver enrollees in states and counties with lower spending. This indicates that higher per enrollee HCBS spending may enable waiver enrollees to remain in the community until their functional impairment becomes more severe.