Approximately $4.3 billion in federal funds have been made available to help states establish and expand home- and community-based long-term services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities.
The new funds will support the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program, which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended for an additional five years through 2016, and the Community First Choice Option, which the ACA created.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of the funds on February 22.
Money Follows the Person
The MFP program helps individuals transition from living in a nursing home or other institution to living in the community with the services and supports they need.
The new funding will enable 13 additional states [scroll down to see chart] to help an estimated 13,000 people move into the community. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia already operate MFP programs. Together, these states will receive more than $45 million in the first year of the program.
Since 2008, PHI and its colleagues at the Direct Service Workforce Resource Center have provided technical assistance to states participating in MFP, supporting their efforts to ensure the workforce necessary to meet the service and support needs of the people transitioning into the community.
A recent study (pdf) by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured found that inadequate community workforce supply, along with lack of affordable housing, wer
e the key obstacles to the success of this program.
Community First Choice Option
Sebelius also announced funding and the posting of a proposed rule (pdf) for the Community First Choice Option (CFC) program. This proposed rule describes details of CFC and solicits public comment for 60 days.
CFC, which will take effect in October 2011, gives participating states a 6 percent increase in federal Medicaid matching funds to provide community-based attendant services and supports to older adults and people with disabilities with Medicaid.
Between 2011 and 2014, the federal government is prepared to provide $3.7 billion in new funds to participating states to support the provision of these services.
Some state-level advocates for older adults and people with disabilities see CFC as crucial in providing new federal matching funds for states considering drastic cuts to home- and community-based services.
Advocates in California hope CFC funding can help offset costs to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program and avoid the need for implementing cuts to this and other Medicaid programs.
New PHI Fact Sheet
To learn more about CFC and other ACA provisions for home- and community-based services, see PHI’s new Health Care for Health Care Workers Health Reform Facts 5: Home- and Community-Based Services Expansion Offers Opportunity to Improve Direct-Care Jobs.
– by Gail MacInnes, PHI National Policy Analyst