At our law firm, we advocate fiercely for quality of life for elderly people and those with disabilities. A major challenge vulnerable people and their loved ones face is securing safe and appropriate residential services that give them as much freedom and access to their communities as possible, while still providing needed treatment and protections.
This usually means an in-home or community-based setting whenever possible, rather than placement in a large, institutional facility like a nursing home. In July, we wrote in this space about the Money Follows the Person program, also referred to as MFP. As we described, this important Medicaid-funded program pays to remove seniors and those with disabilities out of institutions and into more appropriate, smaller settings in the community such as group homes or other services in homes or home-like settings.
We shared data about Colorado’s recent successes in this regard. We also described a hopeful development in the form of a bill that had passed the U.S. House of Representatives that would have funded MFP through fiscal year 2024. At that time, Congress had funded it only through September 2019.
Unfortunately, the Senate agreed to fund MFP only through 2019, rather than enacting the longer solution that would have funded the program through 2024. President Trump signed the amended legislation on Aug. 6, adding $122.5 million in MFP funding through only Dec. 31.
This piecemeal approach makes it difficult for states like Colorado that want to plan more moves of vulnerable residents out of institutions. According to Disability Scoop, a national advocate says states are using the program currently to complete transitions already planned but are not beginning any new transitions.
We will continue to monitor congressional action on MFP, hoping for a permanent solution.