Cuts threaten national program that transitions seniors out of nursing homes

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he organization is working with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on legislation to extend the program for five years.
he organization is working with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on legislation to extend the program for five years.


Money Follows the Person, a 12-year-old program that helps seniors and people with disabilities move out of nursing homes, may run out of money.

The National Council on Aging Monday called the initiative “one of the longest running and most successful Medicaid demonstrations,” noting that it has helped more than 75,000 people in 47 states since it was enacted in 2006.

The program technically expired in October 2016. States now are running out of money and most are scaling back programs, NCOA reported.

Money Follows the Person is meant to allow patients access to care in home- and community-based settings, and viewed as helping provide quality care at a lower price. A Mathematica evaluation found individuals' Medicare and Medicaid expenditures decreased by 23% after returning to the community.

HCBS alternatives, while a threat to traditional nursing homes, have been praised by politicians and consumers, and sometimes widely promoted by states. But Money Follows the Person has also been criticized as slow-moving and reaching fewer participants than targeted in many places.

The organization is working with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on legislation to extend the program for five years. Changes also include reduce the length of stay in an institution from 90 to 60 days, enhance state accountability and enhance cross-state information sharing.