Categorized | Features

Program helps elders out of nursing homes


A federal initiative in Massachusetts that brings long-stay residents out of nursing homes has successfully discharged 422 individuals back to the community. The state contracts with 36 ‘transition entities,’ including all 27 Aging Services Access Points, to relocate individuals out of facilities. Of these successful placements, 75.6 percent (319) were made by Aging Services Access Points.

The top five agencies making transitions included Bristol Elder Services (37), Old Colony Elder Services (37), Springwell (26), Elder Services of Merrimack Valley (23) and Greater Springfield Senior Services (19). These five agencies were responsible for one-third of the transitions statewide.

According to state officials from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), these Money Follows the Person (MFP) transitions are for the 14 month period November of 2013 through the end of January of 2015.

The goal for this period was 495 placements, so activity reported was 85 percent of the program’s goal. “It’s really great progress” an EOHHS official told a meeting of Aging Services Access Points. A total of 1,269 people were enrolled in the MFP program, which means that roughly one-third of those enrolled in the program end up being successfully discharged into the community.

Individuals eligible for the MFP Program include only those people that have lived in an institution for more than 90 consecutive days. Days that a person was living in the institution for the sole purpose of receiving short-term rehabilitation services reimbursed by Medicare don’t count toward this 90-day period. In Massachusetts, because MFP only tracks individuals who have been in facilities for 3 months or longer, many other individuals who are relocated from nursing facilities before they spend 90 days in an institution are not counted by this program.

The Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration Grant helps states rebalance their Medicaid long-term care systems. Over 40,500 people with chronic conditions and disabilities have transitioned from institutions back into the community through MFP programs as of December 2013.  The Affordable Care Act of 2010 strengthened and expanded the MFP program allowing more states to apply. There are currently forty-four states and the District of Columbia participating in the demonstration.

The goal of the MFP program is to:

  • Increase the use of home and community-based services (HCBS) and reduce the use of institutionally-based services
  • Eliminate barriers in State law, State Medicaid plans, and State budgets that restrict the use of Medicaid funds to let people get long-term care in the settings of their choice
  • Strengthen the ability of Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to people who choose to transition out of institutions
  • Put procedures in place to provide quality assurance and improvement of HCBS.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 expanded the “Money Follows the Person” Program to more States. It extended the MFP Program through September 30, 2016, and appropriated an additional $2.25 billion ($450 million for each FY 2012-2016). Any funds remaining at the end of each fiscal year carry over to the next fiscal year, and can be used to make grant awards to current and new grantees until FY 2016.

According to local transition entities, one of the greatest barriers to successful placements in the community is the lack of available housing units. (see related HUD article.)

Courtesy of the Mass Home Care Bulletin, At Home.


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