Community Care Program Saves Medicaid Dollars, Sees Breakthrough in 2011

The Money Follows the Person (MFP) movement, which uses federal grant money to save Medicaid dollars by transitioning the program’s beneficiaries out of institutions and back into their homes or communities, saw a turning point in 2011 with nearly 17,000 transitions, reports a December 2011 Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

“When asked to compare the cost of serving Medicaid beneficiaries who reside in institutions with MFP participants, the majority of states said MFP per capita costs were lower,” says the Kaiser report, which shows that average monthly costs for seniors was $2,130.

The program can reduce states’ Medicaid budgets, but it usually takes some time to catch on.

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“Although it took most MFP states several years to become operational, 2011 marked a turning point for MFP,” said the Kaiser report. “As states embrace rebalancing their long-term services and supports delivery systems, MFP will remain a critical program helping to change the way long-term services and supports are delivered.”

There are now 44 states (including Washington, D.C.) participating in the program, with 13 of those applying and receiving funding in the past year.

Highlights include three states—Ohio, Texas, and Washingotn—making up 46% of the 16,638 MFP transitions, according to Kaiser’s data. The majority of transitions were for people with disabilities (36%) and seniors (33%). The average age of seniors transition home was 71, and they were more likely to transition back to their own homes or a family member’s home, as opposed to a facility in their community.

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MFP was enacted into law in 2006 as part of the Deficit Reduction Act before being extended under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, and offers individual states the opportunity to get their Medicaid funds federally matched for each program beneficiary that transitions back into a community setting. The program’s goal is to “serve individuals with long-term services and supports needs in a safe, more cost-effective setting and one in which individuals can retain independence at freedom.”

View the Kaiser Commission survey here.

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Written by Alyssa Gerace