The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Wednesday, September 23 the availability of up to $165 million in supplemental funding to states, including Pennsylvania, currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. This funding will help state Medicaid programs jump-start efforts to transition individuals with disabilities and older adults from institutions and nursing facilities to home and community-based settings of their choosing.
“The tragic devastation wrought by the Coronavirus on nursing home residents exposes America’s over-reliance on institutional long-term care facilities,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Residential care will always be an essential part of the care continuum, but our goal must always be to give residents options that help keep our loved ones in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. Home and community-based care is not only frequently more cost effective but is preferred by seniors and adults with disabilities seeking to maintain the dignity of independent living. This new federal investment will help states get our loved ones back home,” she added.
MFP state grantees transitioned 101,540 Medicaid beneficiaries from institutional care to home-based and community services (HCBS) since the program started in 2007. However, last year (2019), only 4,173 Medicaid beneficiaries were transitioned under the MFP program – a 46 percent decrease from 2018.
Pennsylvania, one of thirty-three states that operates MFP-funded transition programs, has participated in MFP since 2008. Recently advocates, including PHLP, have urged the state to increase its efforts to transfer residents from institutional care to HCBS. Pennsylvania is eligible to receive up to $5 million in supplemental funding for planning and capacity building activities to accelerate long-term care system transformation design and implementation, and to expand HCBS capacity.