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The Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver program is authorized in §1915(c) of the Social Security Act. The program permits a State to furnish an array of home and community-based services that assist Medicaid beneficiaries to live in the community and avoid institutionalization.
The State has broad discretion to design its waiver program to address the needs of the waiver’s target population. Waiver services complement and/or supplement the services that are available to participants through the Medicaid State plan and other federal, state and local public programs as well as the supports that families and communities provide.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes that the design and operational features of a waiver program will vary depending on the specific needs of the target population, the resources available to the State, service delivery system structure, State goals and objectives, and other factors. A State has the latitude to design a waiver program that is cost-effective and employs a variety of service delivery approaches, including participant direction of services.