As a member of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Steering Committee, AARP Connecticut has been closely following the implementation of the MFP program and working with the state Department of Social Services to ensure the efficient and timely transition of qualified nursing home residents back into the community.
Since the program began accepting applications in December 2008, the Department of Social Services has successfully completed more than 120 transitions, while many more are currently pending. Even more encouraging, over 70% of the state’s nursing facilities have made referrals to the MFP Program.
Connecticut’s MFP initiative is a $56 million demonstration project that is intended to assist with rebalancing Connecticut’s long-term care system so that individuals have the maximum independence and freedom of choice about where they live and receive services.
The goal of Connecticut’s demonstration project is to save taxpayer money on expensive nursing home care while helping senior citizens and persons with disabilities enjoy the benefits of living in their own homes.
Many older people and those with multiple chronic conditions and long-term care needs rely on Medicaid. Even though the vast majority of people would prefer to receive care at home, in Connecticut, the state spends 91 percent of its Medicaid long-term care dollars for older people and adults with physical disabilities on nursing home care, and only 9 percent on home care services.
Under the MFP initiative, the federal government provides increased Medicaid funding, reimbursing the state for 75 percent of costs for the first year back in the community instead of the customary 50 percent. Essentially, the enhanced federal support is a financial incentive for states to reduce the use of expensive institutional care for Medicaid recipients.
Money Follows the Person builds on current programs in Connecticut by offering enhanced community services and support to people who have resided in nursing facilities for at least six months.
The program serves individuals with physical disabilities, mental illness and developmental disabilities. Options for residence in the community include the person’s own home, a family home, an apartment or congregate housing such as assisted living facilities.
Under the program, individualized care plans are created based on need. While participants direct the transition process themselves to the greatest extent possible, transition coordinators are available to provide one-to-one assistance. They assist with identifying community supports, navigating the systems and accessing resources. If people need housing, coordinators can also assist by locating acceptable apartments or other living arrangements. Rental assistance is also available for those who qualify.
In addition, several different service and support packages are available to meet the individual needs of those who transition to the community.
AARP Connecticut will continue to work with members of the community and legislative leaders to monitor the project and to ensure savings are reinvested into the State’s long-term care system with a greater emphasis on home and community-based services.
Applications for the program and further information are available at the Web site or by calling (888) 99-CTMFP. Applications also are available at Area Agencies on Aging, independent living centers, senior centers and other community sites.