The National Council on Aging sounded alarm bells in early January, warning that the 12-year-old Money Follows the Person Medicaid program could soon run out of funding.
The program promotes greater access to care in home- and community-based settings, often at the expense of nursing home census.
NCOA called MFP “one of the longest running and most successful Medicaid demonstrations.” It has helped more than 75,000 people in 47 states since it was enacted in 2006.
HCBS alternatives have been praised by politicians and consumers, and some- times were widely promoted by states.
But the program, which technically expired in October 2016, also has had detractors. Some have criticized its speed and reach in certain regions.
States now are running out of money, and most are scaling back programs, the NCOA said, adding that it is working with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on legislation to extend the program for five years.
Changes call for reducing the length of stay in an institution from 90 to 60 days, enhancing state accountability and improving cross-state information sharing.
A Mathematica evaluation found individuals’ Medicare and Medicaid expenditures decreased by 23% after returning to the community.