Federal nursing home-to-community transition program falling woefully short, researchers say
Financial outlook is grim for not-for-profits, analyst says
A program meant to transition nursing home residents out of institutional care and into their own communities is not meeting projected transfer rates, a national analysis finds.
The Money Follows the Person program, launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2007, has had mixed results throughout the states. CMS had expected to facilitate the relocation of 35,380 Medicaid recipients, but an analysis conducted by Kaiser Health News, and funded with support from the SCAN Foundation, found that only 22,500 beneficiaries have made the move.
What's more, a 2011 Mathematica Policy Research evaluation of MFP discovered that many participants quickly transfer back into a nursing facility not long after moving out. Of 4,746 participants studied, roughly 1 in 7 (14%) seniors and 1 in 10 (10%) of individuals with physical disabilities returned to a long-term care facility within a year of being transferred out of one, Kaiser reported.
MFP gives states extra funding to transfer institutionalized Medicaid recipients into their previous homes, group homes, Section 8 housing, assisted living communities and other community-based settings.
"The states need the dollars to make the investment in the infrastructure, but you don't get the dollars till you move people. But you can't move people without the infrastructure. There was a chicken and egg problem,” Barbara Edwards, director of CMS' disabled and elderly health programs, told Kaiser.