Advocates Push "Money Follows the Person" Legislation
It’s no secret that our national deficit has been surging upward, and despite passing the Deficit Reduction Act in 2005, it seems little has been done to improve it. However, lobbyists have been pushing for changes to healthcare that may help put even just a small dent in a continually rising problem. Their solution: a new piece of legislation knowns as the “Money Follows the Person” Demonstration program.
This program was first authorized as part of the aforementioned Deficit Reduction Act in 2005 with the goal of helping states transition Medicaid-eligible individuals from live-in facilities back into community-based settings. The goal of this program was to continue to provide funding for seniors and those with severe disabilities while also transitioning seniors out of expensive assisted living facilities and into the comfort of their own homes.
Surveys initially found that the program was largely successful in its goals. A Mathematica evaluation found that Medicaid and Medicare costs for the average person shrank by 23 percent after returning to the community and getting out of senior care. As a result, overall expenditures decreased significantly.
However, the program expired in October of 2016, and while many states continued on, today they’re scaling back programs simply because they’re running out of money. This has pushed Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) to introduce the Empower Care Act with the goal of extending and improving the national MFP program, including adding provisions to include funding for these programs into the 2018 fiscal year budget. The act also hopes to reduce the required length of stay in an institution from 90 days to 60 days in order to qualify for benefits from this program, allowing more people to take advantage of it sooner, potentially saving even more.
Since the program was introduced, 43 states have developed an MFP demonstration program, with most seeing similar degrees of success and savings. California’s program, known as California Community Transitions, has largely targeted seniors and remains active to this day, though it’s now reaching far fewer people due to the financial strain on the program.For more information about this program or assistance in determining your eligibility, speak with a San Francisco injury lawyer from the Scarlett Law Group today! Call us at (415) 688-2176 to request a case evaluation and learn more about your options for getting out of a care facility and back into your community!