Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)

A newly proposed bill would reform long-term care by offering more Medicaid money to states for home- and community-based healthcare programs.

The Home and Community Balancing Incentives Act was introduced in the Senate Thursday by Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). According to a statement from Cantwell, moving 5% of nursing home patients to home and community-based care would save the federal government $10 billion over five years. In addition to upping the ante for states with HCBS, the bill seeks to provide a coordinated system to help people transition between nursing homes and the community, and create data collecting infrastructures to monitor the use and effectiveness of HCBS.

Despite the push in recent years to direct more Medicaid funding toward HCBS, nursing homes still receive the bulk of government long-term care money, garnering 75% of available funds. (McKnight’s, 7/14/08)