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New Hampshire first state to get Medicaid funds to keep people out of SNFs

March 2, 2012
by Patricia Sheehan
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New Hampshire will be the first state in the country to receive new Medicaid grant dollars—$26.5 million over three years—provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to keep people out of nursing homes and living in their communities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today.

“Thanks to health reform, more seniors and people with disabilities will be able to continue to live in their homes and communities, rather than a nursing home,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator.

A total of $3 billion is available to states under the ACA’s balancing incentive program.

While federal Medicaid law requires states to pay for institutional care for the elderly or persons with disabilities who may need assistance with activities of daily life, home or community-based long-term supports are optional. All states, however, operate home or community-based optional programs in Medicaid but demand frequently exceeds the state’s available resources.

While most Medicaid dollars for long-term services and supports still go to institutions, the national percentage of Medicaid spending on home and community based services more than doubled from 20 percent in 1995 to 43 percent in 2009, reports CMS.

States are eligible for these grants, in the form of higher Medicaid matching payments, if they currently spend less than 50 percent of their total long-term care costs on community-based options. The enhanced Medicaid payments must be spent to increase the availability of long-term community-based services and supports, according to CMS.
  

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