Supplementary Funding Aims to Help Nursing Home Residents on Medicaid Return to Community

COVID-19 has made nursing homes a more dangerous place for older Americans. Some additional funding for a key Medicaid program aims to help.

Published October 5, 2020

Follow our Medicare Coronavirus News page for related information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on Medicare beneficiaries.

Thanks to additional Medicaid funding, some nursing home residents may be safely coming home.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the availability of up to $165 million in supplemental funding to states that are currently participating in Money Follows the Person (MFP) programs. The money will help state Medicaid programs transition nursing home residents to home or community-based settings of their choosing. 

The action comes in response to COVID-19 and the pandemic’s effect on nursing homes. 

“The tragic devastation wrought by the Coronavirus on nursing home residents exposes America’s over-reliance on institutional long-term care facilities,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a press release announcing the news. “Residential care will always be an essential part of the care continuum, but our goal must always be to give residents options that help keep our loved ones in their homes and communities for as long as possible.”

What is the Money Follows the Person program?

The MFP program supports state Medicaid efforts to rebalance long-term services and support systems to give individuals more choice on where they live and receive services.

The program launched in 2008 and has since transitioned more than 100,000 people back to community living. However, just over 4,000 people were transitioned through the program in 2019, which was a 46 percent drop from the year before. 

Each participating state is eligible to receive up to $5 million in supplemental funding to accelerate long-term care transitions.

The supplemental funds can be used to pay for:

  • Caregiver training and education
  • Medicaid-housing partnerships to improve access to affordable housing for Medicaid beneficiaries
  • Changes to reimbursement rates and payment methodologies for home-based and community services

The 33 states (and the District of Columbia) that operate MFP programs and are eligible to participate include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.  

Funding requests will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 30, 2021. 

Learn more about Medicare news and how the COVID-19 pandemic affects beneficiaries.

Christian

About the author

Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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