The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will award over $23 million in 2007 to states that move long term care recipients out of institutions such as nursing homes and into their own homes or other community settings.
The awards, announced Jan. 12, will go to 17 states that offer demonstration programs to move LTC recipients out of institutions, said Leslie Norwalk, acting director of CMS. The state aid will ultimately total as much as $900 million over the next 5 years to the 17 states.
A second group of states will be awarded grants later this year, CMS says. Total grants to all states expected to participate could reach $1.75 billion by 2011.
The grants, known as Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Awards, will provide extra federal matching dollars to help participating states cover the costs of moving people out of institutions such as nursing homes.
Made possible under provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the MFP program allows states to use the funds to make it easier for individuals to receive LTC services where they choose. States would also be able to continue improvements in treatment quality.
“People who need long term care prefer to remain in their own homes and communities whenever possible,” Norwalk said. “States will also get more for their money by giving the elderly and people with disabilities more control over how and where they get the Medicaid services they need.”
The awards will help states move 20,000 individuals into care at their own or relatives’ homes or into community residences, she added.
All states were eligible to apply to participate in the 5-year demonstration program, which requires them to participate for at least 2 straight years.
States getting grants can receive an increase in federal matching dollars, which are to be applied to services to an LTC beneficiary for one year after the individual moves out of an institution and into the community. The state must then continue to provide community services as long as the person needs them and is Medicaid-eligible.
Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell said the $24.2 million CMS grant her state will receive is “a tremendous step forward” for disabled people and their families in the state.
“This approach will be cost-effective for taxpayers and lead to wonderful improvements in the quality of life for many of our seniors and people with disabilities,” she said.