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Program helping people leave institutions renewed for 3 years

Federal lawmakers are giving new life to a popular Medicaid program, Money Follows the Person, that moves people with disabilities from institutions into the community.

The program has been renewed for three years under legislation approved in late December and gives states extra funds to provide employment, housing and other services to help people transition from nursing homes and other institutions to homes in the community.

The renewal, commits $450 million annually to the program through September 2023 and allows all states to participate. In addition, it also shortens the amount of time a person would have to stay at an institution before they qualify to transition to the community from 90 days to 60 days, according to Nicole Jorwic, senior director of public policy at The Arc.

“While we were pushing for permanence, three years of funding available to all states, not just those with existing programs, will be very helpful in the face of the pandemic to move people with disabilities out of large congregate settings like nursing homes and institutions and back into their homes and communities,” Jorwic said.

A recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates that between 2008 and 2019 Money Follows the Person helped 101,540 people leave institutions for community-based settings.

In addition to renewing Money Follows the Person, the federal spending bill also increased funding for special education by $186 million, allocated $25 million extra for housing for people with disabilities and added $35 million for the Administration on Community Living, among other changes for the 2021 fiscal year.

Source: Disability Scoop, The ARC & Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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