CMS to award $900 million to states offering LTC alternatives

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to award up to $900 million to 17 states to fund experimental programs that offer home- and community-based long-term care options to Medicaid beneficiaries, the agency has announced.

CMS is offering the grants over five years for demonstration projects in states that have proposed to transition more than 20,000 nursing home residents into community settings. Allowing for such options in long-term care improves beneficiary satisfaction and can save money, CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk said in a statement announcing the grants.

So far, CMS has awarded $23 million to selected states, including Wisconsin and South Carolina. Ultimately CMS plans to spend a total of $1.75 billion between 2007 and 2011 to help states shift Medicaid's traditional emphasis on institutional care to a system offering greater choices for individuals, the agency said. The grants are part of the "Money Follows the Person" initiative created as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. CMS made the announcement the middle of this month and will determine more grants later in the year.