Oregon Department of Human Services
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CMS approves expansion of program providing older adults and people with disabilities more options for support at home

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved the expansion of an Oregon Department of Human Services’ (ODHS) program that gives older adults and people with disabilities more options for support to continue to live independently in their own home.

With the approval, the ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) can launch a new version of its Oregon Project Independence (OPI) program that will be supported with Medicaid funds. The program expansion will begin by serving individuals who have been on waiting lists for support from OPI. New applications for services could be accepted as early as spring 2025.

Winning CMS approval for this expansion represents a significant step forward for ODHS as it strives to provide Oregonians with more choices by introducing innovative solutions. OPI was among the first programs of its kind when it was introduced in Oregon in 1975. As the program is expanded, it continues to be among only a few programs like it nationally.

“ODHS is committed to providing Oregonians with options that best fit their needs. For many, the expansion of Oregon Project Independence means they will be able to stay in their current home for years to come,” said APD Director Nakeshia Knight- Coyle.

Camille Dobson, Deputy Executive Director of ADvancing States, added, “Oregon joins several states that have received Medicaid funds to serve individuals who would otherwise not meet Medicaid’s eligibility requirements but need limited supports in order to live independently in the community. As the national association who represents state aging and disability agencies, we are heartened by CMS’ recognition of these needs and hope that other states with similar programs will follow Oregon’s lead.”

The new program, which is called Oregon Project Independence - Medicaid (OPI- M), will:

  • Provide an option for older adults to receive Medicaid-funded services without any estate recovery requirement following a recipient’s death. Estate recovery requires that the assets an individual leaves behind following their death are used to cover the cost of the services received. Eliminating estate recovery supports ODHS’ goal to find ways to support the financial stability of families by making it possible for generations to pass down life savings; and
  • Increase the income limit for individuals to qualify for Medicaid-funded services and supports. This means that more people could qualify for in-home services and supports.

Eligibility for OPI-M will be open to adults with physical disabilities aged 18 and older, as well as individuals aged 60 and older, who meet specific criteria, including income and asset limits.

People who receive OPI–M can access home-based services such as in-home support and personal care services, adult day services, home delivered meals, assisted transportation and assistive technology. While Oregon’s original OPI sometimes requires that participants pay a fee to participate, OPI-M services are fully covered by Medicaid funding and participants will not have to pay a fee to receive services or be subject to estate recovery following their death. People enrolled in the original state-funded OPI, who choose to remain in that program, will continue to receive approved services, ensuring continuity of care. Those who choose to move to OPI-M, the Medicaid funded program, will be able to do so.

“Oregon Project Independence - Medicaid will open doors for more older adults and people with disabilities to receive the support they require without the burden of fees or estate recovery, which can serve as a barrier for some people to receive help and perpetuate intergenerational poverty,” said APD Deputy Director of Policy Jane- ellen Weidanz, who led development of OPI - M.

For more information about OPI - M visit: https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/providers- partners/seniors-disabilities/pages/1115-demonstration-waiver.aspx

About the ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities: APD’s vision is to ensure Oregon’s older adults, people with disabilities and their families experience person-centered services, supports and early interventions that are innovative and help maintain independence, promote safety, wellbeing, honor choice, respect cultural preferences, and uphold dignity.


Media contacts
Adrienne Goins
Oregon Department of Human Services

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