Affordable Care Act Brings Funds, Proposed Rules To Strengthen Community Living

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making a new push as part of the Affordable Care Act to assist in efforts to Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings now and in the near future.  The department announced last week that thirteen states are set to receive over $45 million in the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program this year with a total of $621 million committed through 2016.  The MFP program, which was set to expire in fiscal year 2011, was extended through the Affordable Care Act for an additional five years.

“The Money Follows the Person program is hugely important to improving the lives of Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Donald Berwick, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which will implement the demonstration program. “This helps bring everyone, even those who in the past may have had no choice but to live in an institution, into the community where they can become full participants in the activities most of us take for granted.”

Additionally, HHS has proposed rules calling for for states to access a potential $3.7 billion in increased federal funding to provide long-term services and supports through the Community First Choice Option (CFC) program.  Beginning in October, states will get a 6% increase in federal matching funds for providing community-based attendant services and supports to people with Medicaid.  Services and support that are supported under the CFC include activities of daily living and other health-related tasks with hands-on assistance or supervision and may cover costs for moving individuals from an institution to the community, such as security and utility deposits, first month’s rent, and purchasing basic household supplies.