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New Study Analyzes Money Follows the Person Program

A study of the Money Follows the Person program, designed to transition Medicaid individuals living in institutions back into the community, has found that the program is supporting mostly disabled individuals and falling far short of initial goals.

The report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation titled Money Follows the Person: A 2011 Survey of Transitions, Services and Costs looked into the use of the federal grant money given to states participating in the program. As of August 2011, 43 states and the District of Columbia participated in the program, in which nearly 17,000 individuals were transitioned back into the community. Of those nearly 17,000 individuals, approximately one third were seniors, and the other two thirds were made up of those in other age groups who had physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illnesses. Demonstrating this divergence in ages, the report states that the average age of all participants in the program was 50, while the average age of participants who were also seniors was 71.

The initial goal of the program was to transition nearly 38,000 individuals back into the community. Many states reported not being on pace to meet annual goals, which are much less ambitious than initial goals; since these annual goals are set by the state, and CMS holds states financially accountable for not meeting annual goals. The states that don’t expect to meet their annual goals cite a number of challenges. These challenges include a lack of affordable and accessible housing options as well as restrictions on qualified housing options like assisted living.

Read the full report: Money Follows the Person: A 2011 Survey of Transitions, Services and Costs.

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