An ambitious federal program intended to dramatically reduce the number of people with disabilities unnecessarily living in nursing homes is having mixed results as states put it into practice.

For years, adults with disabilities had little choice for assistance beyond the support of a nursing home. But a federal initiative known as Money Follows the Person established in 2005, aims to change that, while giving people much sought-after independence and saving the government millions.

Participants in Money Follows the Person get help transitioning into an independent or small group home setting where they can receive the care they need. Care is significantly cheaper — averaging $18,000 annually versus $75,190 for a nursing home — and for many quality of life is improved.

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Currently, 29 states take part in the program, but efforts have been slow to start. The initial goal was to move 37,000 people across the country out of nursing homes and other assisted living facilities by 2013, but so far just 5,774, or about 16 percent, have made the move.

The reasons vary, a recent study showed, ranging from trouble finding low-cost community housing to limits on who is eligible to qualify for the program and push-back from nursing homes. However, health care legislation signed into law last month is expected to help. Under the new law, eligibility for Money Follows the Person is expanded, the program is extended until 2016 and the effort will gain an additional $900 million, reports NPR. To read more click here.