Biden Administration Expanding Program That Helps People Leave Institutions
After years of uncertainty, a popular Medicaid program that helps people with disabilities leave institutions for community-based living is set to grow.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that it will make available over $110 million to expand Money Follows the Person. The Medicaid program gives states extra funds to provide employment, housing and other services to help people transition from nursing homes and other institutions to homes in the community.
More than 20 states and territories that are not currently participating in Money Follows the Person can qualify for up to $5 million each to get the program up and running in their areas, officials said.
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“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live at home, in their communities, and with their loved ones,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. “This funding will bring dignity and peace of mind to even more seniors and people with disabilities across the country. We will continue expanding these programs to ensure all Americans have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve — no matter where they live.”
Since being authorized in 2005, Medicaid officials said they’ve provided states with over $4 billion to help people transition out of institutions through the program.
However, after Money Follows the Person officially expired in 2016, the program was in limbo for years as Congress passed eight short-term extensions, including one as brief as seven days. The delays took their toll with many states halting transitions and closing their programs as money ran dry. Finally, in late 2020, the program was renewed for three years.
Between 2008 and 2020, Money Follows the Person helped more than 107,000 people leave institutions for community-based settings, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
State Medicaid programs that are not already participating in Money Follows the Person have until May 31 to apply for the new funds.
For states that are already part of the program, federal Medicaid officials said they will now cover all costs for what are known as “supplemental services” and that category will be expanded to include additional supports to help people transition to the community including short-term housing and food assistance. Previously, states had been expected to pick up a portion of the cost for supplemental services.
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