Medicaid/LTSS – Money Follows the Person Reauthorization Bill Introduced in House

On March 15, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care (EMPOWER Care) Act (H.R. 5306). This bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program, which provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved almost $1 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports this legislation.

New Report Released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report titled “The Right Supports at the Right Time: How Money Follows the Person (MFP) Programs Are Supporting Diverse Populations in the Community.” This report examines how six MFP grantees are serving populations with diverse needs in the community and the factors that have contributed to their performance on key outcome measures. The report is available here.

HHS announces MFP funding for states and seeks public comment on CFC regulations

States will see significant new federal support in their efforts to help move Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday.  The Affordable Care Act provides additional funding for two programs supporting that goal:

Money Follows the Person (MFP):  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended the MFP demonstration program (which was set to expire in fiscal year 2011) for an additional five years.  The 13 States receiving awards today (CO, FL, ID, ME, MA, MN, MS, NV, NM, RI, TN, VT, and WV) join the 29 States and the District of Columbia already operating MFP programs. Together, these States will receive more than $45 million in the first year of the awards, and more than $621 million through 2016. The MFP program provides individuals living in a nursing home or other institution new opportunities to live in the community with the services and supports they need.

Community First Choice (CFC) Option:  The ACA created the CFC Option, which will give States additional resources to make community living a first choice, and leave nursing homes and institutions as a fall back option.  Starting in October, this option will allow States to receive a six percent 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.  The CFC proposed rule, posted today, describes the details of this program and solicits public comment.   See the HHS press release at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/02/20110222b.html

New vouchers for independent living announced

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a joint effort to assist nearly 1,000 non-elderly persons with disabilities to move from institutions to independence. HUD will provide $7.5 million in rental assistance vouchers for public housing in 15 states. HHS will provide support such as in-home care through its “Money Follows the Person” grant program aimed at people who qualify for Medicaid assistance for nursing home or other institutional care. Read more at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/01/20110106a.html