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Billions Unleashed To Expand Community Living

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(Updated: March 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM CT)

Medicaid officials are beginning to hand out billions of dollars in new matching grants made available under the health care reform act for states to increase community living opportunities.

New Hampshire will be the first state to see added funding under the so-called Balancing Incentive Program, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said late last week.

The $3 billion initiative established as part of the Affordable Care Act is designed to boost spending in states that allocate less than 50 percent of their long-term care dollars to community-based offerings.

Currently, states are required to fund institutional care for individuals with disabilities, but funding is limited for community-based options.

States that qualify for the new money must use it to increase the availability of services in the community, Medicaid officials said.

“No one should have to live in an institution or nursing home if they can live in their homes and communities with the right mix of affordable supports,” said Cindy Mann, who oversees the federal Medicaid program. “These new grants will help states like New Hampshire give people with long-term care needs the choice about how and where to live their lives.”

Under the new program, New Hampshire will get $26.5 million over the next three years.

Medicaid officials said they are working with several other states that are preparing applications for the grant money and indicated that a proposal from Maryland is currently under review.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. Mary Jane Sufficool says:

    Okay, Virginia, go for it!

  2. Darla says:

    Please designate it to only be used as such and put fines for states that do not use it for the designated purpose. I will not celebrate this move until I see that Illinois uses it for the purpose intended as the government has used designated monies for other purposes in prior circunstances. The past governor shifted money from a program from community-based group homes for the alleged purpose of moving individuals out of state facilities (did not make sense to me to take money from the program in which you were supposedly moving individuals into) and I have read VERY little follow-up on this as I fear that money was not used to do what it was reportedly re-allocated to do. Now- the present governor is closing facilities with no reported plan on how and where the clients are going as they are not trained in the living-skills needed as they have been in these state facilities most, if not all, their lives. The Illinois government is also taking money from programs for the disabled and elderly while on the other hand giving themselves and their cronies raises (when they are making over $100,000 a year to start with). The Illinois State Government cannot be trusted to use designated funds for the designated purpose.

  3. S. Zalinsky says:

    Lets see how this really works!!. My Mom is in a nursing home costing thousands of Medicaid & Medicare dollars $$$, while she could be in her home costing taxpayers 1/2 of that if a live in was approved by Medicare & Medicaid. Plus it would make her last days here on Earth my more tollerable. This is a crime, my Mom has a place to live but the gov’t forces a nursing home!!

  4. Barb says:

    Right. Here in NYS, they just move the people out of state run institutions and in to state run group homes down the street from the institution. There is no develoment scheduled for the not-for-profits, just waiting lists. And there is no money for families like mine who choose to take care of their disabled loved ones at home. We are saving the state and federal government thousands of dollars by keeping them home with us, but we get no help at all. If we got some help, you woldn’t have a need for more group homes. Help the families first!

  5. Sonja says:

    It’s “matching grants” money. If a state, like California is trying to cut like crazy because there is no money for medicaid – how would they qualify? Why grants? Why not “funding” as it should be. Business men behind the scenes (who are paying for our legislators and writing our laws in the process) are discouraging fair taxation over “reform” that is destroying not only our health system, but education and other public service areas as well. They want these institutions to fail, by starving them of true, fair funding so they can be “reinvented” and “reformed” by FOR PROFIT institutions.

    All citizens lose. Get rid of reform, stop government subsidies of wealthy corporations who are taking advantage of the public (petroleum industry) and start taxing them. We’d have more than enough to FUND ALL, not “matching grant” select few who agree to comply with union-busting reform measures. It’s disgraceful. Our legislators have long stopped representing We The People in favor of Corporate Dollars.

  6. seeandbesafe.com says:

    This is such an important move on part of the legislators. While working as a case manager I have seen too many incidences of individuals slipping through the cracks and even passing away in a nursing home when they should have been in their homes with proper support. One of these cases involved the passing of a 24 year old young woman who was a high quad and vent patient. The nursing home staff was totally ill equipped to care for someone with her diagnoses and took much exception to her making the condition know as they intercepted several of her letters requesting help from outside agencies. That one was a heart breaker. There needs to be more emphases put on the community living piece. It’s the only way some young disabled individuals will get the chance to experience a full life.

  7. Kelly says:

    I agree with Darla, this money should be earmarked only for this program. Fines sould be in place for the states who dip into it. The fine should be enough to hurt and make them think about this again. This fine money should be put into the Autism programs. I am a mom with a 22 yo, who could benifit from this. I can’t wait until it comes to Missouri.

  8. Mamatat says:

    As a Texas resident, I presume the my governor and legislature here will decline the money because they don’t want “The Feds” dictating how it’s used. The result will be even fewer community services offered, and forget about oversight: the impression I get is that I should be grateful my family gets anything, even if the care is sub-standard and sometimes life-threatening.

    When states believe their citizens are not worth “matching”, it’s nothing less than disgusting. “Quality of life” and “Quality of care” are just phrases used to get votes while both “qualities” are denied to most disabled citizens and their caregivers.

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