Government initiatives aim to decrease number of disabled people in nursing homes

The federal government is ramping up efforts to reduce the number of disabled people in nursing homes through interagency initiatives.

The Department of Education has proposed supporting a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The research program would align with an NIDRR plan to assess how long-term care supports and services can increase the number of disabled people living in a community. Details on the proposal were published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

The NIDRR long-range plan was released shortly after the Department of Health and Human Services launched a new Community Living Council in March. The council is tasked with driving an HHS initiative to increase consumer education for people with disabilities and increase opportunities for community living under new healthcare models.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision, it is considered discrimination to “segregate” disabled people in nursing homes or other traditionally institutional settings. While many disabled people have already been moved out of nursing homes, a sharper focus is needed because the aging of the baby boom generation will increase the number of seniors with disabilities, the Education Department said in the Federal Register article.

“Medicaid expenditures for institutional care continue to exceed those for home and community-based services,” according to the Register. “Furthermore, great disparities exist in access to home and community-based services across the states and among people with different disability characteristics.”

Click here to access the full Federal Register entry. Comments are being accepted through June 14.