Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability on Wednesday, Jan. 5 announced its authorization of rate increases for home and community-based services (HCBS) administered under the Older Americans Act as well as the state-funded OPTIONS for Community Living program (OPTIONS).

“Due to a heavily stimulated economy, many industries are struggling to maintain competitive wages for their workforce, and the direct care industry, specifically those serving our aging and disabled populations, is no different,” said TCAD Executive Director James Dunn.

“After receiving input and data from stakeholders, the decision to increase HCBS rates was made so that our provider network remains robust and we can continue to provide critically needed services. We are confident this increase will be welcome news for Tennesseans receiving services, their families, and the care staff who support them.”

A temporary two-month rate increase was put in place March 13 through May 12, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last permanent rate increase was made on January 11, 2018.

This rate increase matches TennCare’s caregiver rate for the Medicaid run CHOICES program and went into effect Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Established in 1999, OPTIONS is a purely state-funded program run by TCAD and administered by the state’s network of local Area Agencies on Aging and Disability that manage the application process for program participants.

The program was created to provide elder Tennesseans, as well as adults with disabilities, HCBS choices.