HHS Grants Aim To Encourage Home Care
HHS on Wednesday announced plans to award $1.75 billion in grants to states under a five-year program to allow Medicaid beneficiaries to reside in their homes or in their communities, rather than in nursing homes, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Under the program, states for one year will receive a higher rate of federal Medicaid matching funds -- between 75% and 90% -- for beneficiaries that states move from nursing homes into their homes or into their communities. States also can use the funds to make modifications to the homes of Medicaid beneficiaries to allow their continued residence and to provide respites for family caregivers.
States must agree to continue to provide Medicaid beneficiaries with home or community care for at least one year after the higher rate of federal Medicaid matching funds ends.
HHS said that the program could reduce costs because nursing home care is more expensive than home or community care.
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said, "We've worked with advocates and states for years to end the institutional bias in Medicaid, and now we've got the biggest opportunity ever to do it." He added, "We need to move as quickly as possible to make that shift across Medicaid. With new federal funding, there is no longer any excuse to do so" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 7/26).
APM's "Marketplace" on Wednesday reported on the program. The segment includes comments from McClellan; Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; and Jonathan Weiner, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Napoli, "Marketplace," APM, 7/26).
The complete transcript and audio in RealPlayer of the segment are available online.