California First State to Get Funding for Seniors, Disabled Program

Federal health care reform includes a state plan option to provide home- and community-based services designed to keep seniors and persons with disabilities living at and keep them out of institutional care. States taking up that option receive a 6% increase in federal matching payments.

Yesterday, California received federal approval to change its State Plan Amendment, opening the door to begin claiming Community First Choice federal funding.

The change is worth $573 million to California over two years, according to state officials.

“The approval of the State Plan Amendment provides California with significant fiscal relief while further improving the level of care in the community,” said Michael Weston, deputy director of public affairs for the Department of Social Services.

The funding is retroactive to December 2011 for much of the In-Home Supportive Services offered by the state.

“Expanding the array of services available in the community will lead to improved outcomes for IHSS recipients and to an overall better quality of life,” Weston said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, in a written release, said that it makes sense that California is first to receive the federal money.

“California continues to lead the nation in health care reform and today’s approval reinforces the support and confidence the federal government has in the Golden State,” Dooley said in her press release. “We look forward to working with our state and federal partners as we move to provide seniors and people with disabilities with better options for self-directed care.”

California will receive an estimated $258 million for the first year of implementation, and $315 million for the second year, state officials said.

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