New funds to provide nursing home alternatives

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services disclosed this week it will invest nearly $6 million more to help states expand community- and home-based long-term care options for seniors.

Twelve states received a total of $5.7 million in federal funding for grants. The states will contribute more than $3 million to support the effort. The government hopes the money will help states reduce unnecessary nursing home placement, and eliminate the need for individuals to "spend down" to be eligible for nursing home Medicaid, officials said.

More and more, governments are looking toward home- and community-based services to help solve the spending problems associated with nursing home use. Advocates of nursing homes are concerned that the trend might hurt the most vulnerable who need nursing homes.