MFP program struggling

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The government's so-called “Money Follows the Person” program has had a disappointing start, officials announced recently.

Designed to allow elderly and disabled individuals greater flexibility in choosing their sources and sites of healthcare, the program has failed to reach participation goals, regulators said. 

Places such as the District of Columbia (11% of the goal participants), Virginia (35%) and Maryland (55%) are indicative of how the participating 43 states have experienced a lack of users. That said, in Maryland, 87% of program participants have come from nursing homes, officials said. 

Only $1 billion of the $4 billion Congress authorized for the program through 2016 has been used, officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services noted.

Fewer than 23,000 individuals nationwide had transitioned to community settings from institutional healthcare settings as of late October, according to CMS. Officials there now admit their goal of transitioning more than 35,000 people within five years was unrealistic.

The program was expected to grow participation in home health care but in some places, there were shortages of workers and viable housing options for disabled participants. In other areas, home- and community-based care sites needed to be started from scratch. 



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