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More than $4 Billion in Funds Set to Expand Community-Based Alternatives to LTC

February 22, 2011
by root
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States will see “significant” federal support in the effort of moving Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings, according to an announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services today.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced 13 states are receiving a combined $45 million in Money Follows the Person grants to start the program in their states, with a total of $621 million committed through 2016. In addition, HHS has proposed rules to allow all states to access a potential $3.7 billion in increased federal funding to provide long-term care services through the Community First Choice Option program.

The Money Follows the Person demonstration program, which was set to expire in fiscal year 2011, is extended through the Affordable Care Act for an additional five years. The program provides individuals living in a nursing home or other institution new opportunities to live in the community and have helped 12,000 individuals to date, according to a release.

Starting in October, the Community First Choice option will allow states to receive a 6% increase in federal matching funds for providing community-based attendant services and supports to people with Medicaid. Over the next three years—through 2014—States could see a total of $3.7 billion in new funds to provide these services.

To qualify for the increased Federal funds, states must develop “person-centered plans” that allow the individual to determine how services are provided to achieve or maintain independence. States must also establish implementation councils with a majority membership consisting of persons with disabilities, elderly individuals, and their representatives to advise in the design and implementation of Community First Choice option.

The proposed rule, posted today, describes the details of this program and solicits public comment.

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