Call to Reauthorize Money Follows the Person
By Jane Rath, New Editions Vice President
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Program provides funding and support for 44 state grantees to design and develop services and supports to assist individuals move from institutional to home and community-based settings. Additionally, MFP provides the foundation and framework for states to transform their systems to be more focused on home and community-based systems.
For the past eight years, New Editions provided technical assistance to the 44 grantees. The advancements in home and community-based services that states have seen as a result of the MFP grants has been transformational, not only for the over 75,000 individuals transitioning to the community as of 2016, but also in the numerous ways that MFP helped states with system changes that shift spending from institutional settings to more cost-effective home and community-based settings.
Through the MFP program, states saw increased opportunities for individuals to transition to the community and improve their quality of life. States also made significant impacts transforming their long-term services and supports system. These impacts include:
- A culture shift within the state mindset to more receptivity to home and community-based options.
- Ability to cover transition costs such as deposits, food allowances, accommodations, and home modifications.
- Focus and enhancements to the application of person-centered planning and informed choice practices.
- Outreach and education strategies targeting individuals and nursing facilities that included peer mentoring, options counseling, radio, and television.
- Information technology and system improvements.
- Promoting collaboration across state agencies to improve services and initiate/support system change initiatives.
- Economic advantages in terms of cost savings as well as creating economic opportunities (e.g., increases in provider agencies and direct service workforce).
While states have made extensive progress through these and other advancements, more work is needed. States continue to face barriers and issues in designing and delivering home and community-based, person-centered services; ensuring an adequate direct service workforce; finding accessible and affordable housing; and providing the employment and transportation services that support community integration.
In response to this ongoing need, Congress has introduced the Empower Care Act (HR 5306 and S. 2227) that will re-authorize the MFP Demonstration Program. We support those working to get this legislation passed and encourage others to contact your senators and congressmen to pass this important legislation to continue the work to increase opportunities for older adults and individuals with disabilities to live and thrive in the community.