Community Living Supports Given Federal Boost

by Quest Staff on November 1, 2006 - 1:37pm

QUEST Vol. 13, No. 6

Many people with disabilities struggle to receive long-term care in their homes and avoid going to nursing homes. Similarly, many now living in nursing homes would move back into their own homes and communities if adequate services could be provided.

Two recent federal grant programs move both these wishes a little closer to reality –- at least for individuals in certain states.

Eight states will receive nearly $20 million in Real Choice Systems Change grants to develop home- and community-based programs for people with disabilities or long-term illnesses, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

California, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Kansas will use the money to change their long-term care systems so that children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses can receive quality services in their homes and communities and stay out of nursing homes if they so choose.

The grants will require states to focus on: improving access to information about available services; implementation of quality long-term care systems; flexible financing arrangements that promote community living options; and long-term supports coordinated with affordable and accessible housing.

In addition, states have been invited to apply for a share of $1.75 billion in grant money under the Money Follows the Person initiative. The grants are to fund the transition of elderly or disabled Medicaid recipients from nursing homes back into their own communities and residences. Funds will pay for personal care services, accessibility modifications to the person’s home, respite hours for family caregivers, and assistive devices.

States that are awarded the grants will receive a higher rate of Medicaid matching funds for each beneficiary for one year, as long as they agree to continue providing the matching funds for one year after the federal government’s matching stops. The program is scheduled to run for five years.

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