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Medicaid program expands funding for seniors and people with disabilities, but its future remains uncertain – The 19th*

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2022-08-29 17:04

5:04

August 29, 2022

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The Biden administration recently announced approximately $25 million in grants to expand a Medicaid program that has allowed more than 90,000 disabled people and seniors to move out of institutional settings like nursing homes and back into their communities. 

Money Follows the Person is a demonstration program designed to support states in expanding their home care services. Demonstration programs are used to test new and innovative policies in the states. 

The nearly $25 million announced August 22 will support early planning for MFP in Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, American Samoa and Puerto Rico, bringing the total to 41 states and territories offering the program.

Currently, nursing home care is a Medicaid entitlement, meaning states are required to provide it to seniors and people with disabilities who need a high level of assistance in their everyday lives. The same requirement does not exist for home care. 

“People with disabilities and older adults should have a choice about where they live,” said Bethany Lilly, senior director of public policy for The Arc, one of the largest disability advocacy organizations in the United States, as well as a service provider. 

Long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities is disproportionately delivered by women. Women make up over 80 percent of the professional long-term care workforce, and the majority of family caregivers are women. 

Joe Caldwell is director of the Community Living Policy Center at Brandeis University and a nationally recognized expert on long-term care. He described Money Follows the Person as one of the most successful, longest-running Medicaid demonstration programs. 

“When people move back into the community, their quality of life increases, across all populations — older people, people with developmental disabilities,” Caldwell said. 

This was certainly the case for Tyree Brown. She didn’t expect to live in a nursing home at age 20. After a car accident in 2015, Brown became quadreplegic — she experiences paralysis in all four limbs and uses a wheelchair to get around. Her parents’ house wasn’t wheelchair accessible and she needed a place to live, so the state placed her in a nursing home. 

Brown was the youngest person by decades living in the nursing home. She had no privacy. She had to ask permission to leave the facility, and, even with permission, there were challenges. It wasn’t possible for Brown to attend church on Wednesdays and Fridays as she usually did before the accident because worship was at 8 p.m., after the nursing home’s curfew. Brown could theoretically …….

Source: https://19thnews.org/2022/08/medicaid-money-follows-person-expands-but-future-uncertain/

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