Money Follows the Person

Understanding Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration.

This past week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would be expanding its Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person demonstration. 

The program apparently has provided billions to help seniors and people with disabilities to safely transition from institutional care to homes and back to their communities. I had not heard of this program, and thus was surprised that it was being expanded. 

The demonstration started as a pilot in 2006, then kicked off in a full demonstration effort which ran from 2008-2020 to support home and community-based services (HCBS) and reduce the use of institutional based care. During that time, more than 107,000 transitions were made out of institutional settings through a variety of different interventions. Many of the states have selected their own name for this funding program, which may be why there is a lack public recognition. States such as Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Missouri have coined the name for their MFP program “Finding Home” while other states have used the name, “My Place” or “Returning home.”

In the Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021, an additional $5 million was awarded to states that were not previously participating in this program to access MFP funds which is run through the state’s government offices. This program has removed restrictions for Medicaid members to receive support for appropriate and necessary long-term services and supports people in the settings of their choice to secure stable housing and reduce risk of institutionalization, which includes unnecessary hospitalizations. 

On March 31, 2022, the program was expanded to the current MFP grantees that they will receive increased reimbursement for these services with zero state cost share requirements.  Yes, free federal money to support Medicaid members for community based and housing support services (HCBS). 

Then last week, an additional $25 million, $5 million per awarded state, was awarded to expand programs in Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. The funds will go towards establishing planning partnerships with community stakeholders, conducting assessments to better understand how HCBS supports residents, developing community transitions programs, enhancing HCBS quality initiatives, and recruiting additional staff and technology to support the infrastructure of these programs. 

To date there are 41 states and territories participating in this program which is funded through 2025. Please check out the link and select the awarded grantees tab to see if your state is participating, who your contact is, and what requirements are needed for accessing these funds. 

If you all are familiar with my recent webcast Long-Stay Hospitalizations: Managing the Complex Patient Populations, we discussed what to do with complex patients who have multiple ED utilization or long stay hospitalizations. Upon researching some of the state programs it appears that this is a program that hospital and outpatient community-based case management programs should be aware of and could access to support their complex patient population.   

Although each state is unique, the program is routed typically through two areas the Office of Aging and Adult Services and the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities. To meet the institutionalization criteria, the client and/or patient would need to have a length of stay of at least 60 days. However, in today’s current conditions and with true complex cases, this is not unheard of with social admissions in the hospital, NICU babies, or psychiatric patients.  

Once eligibility is established, they would be able to access MFP funds to support transitions into less restrictive community-based housing depending on patient needs. These funds could also help support initial payments and coordination of services to transition the patient out of the institutional setting.

Monitor Monday listeners were asked if any of the listeners were familiar or if they had utilized their state-run Money Follows the Person program (i.e., Finding Home, My Place)? 

  • Yes, I was already aware of this program
  • No, this program is new to me

The responses from the Monitor Monday listener survey may surprise you, and can be viewed here.

Programming Note: Listen to Tiffany Ferguson live reporting on the SDoH every Monday on Monitor Mondays at 10 Eastern.

References:

Money Follows the Person | Medicaid

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Tiffany Ferguson, LMSW, CMAC, ACM

Tiffany Ferguson is CEO of Phoenix Medical Management, Inc., the care management company. Tiffany serves on the ACPA Observation Subcommittee. Tiffany is a contributor to RACmonitor, Case Management Monthly, and commentator for Finally Friday. After practicing as a hospital social worker, she went on to serve as Director of Case Management and quickly assumed responsibilities in system level leadership roles for Health and Care Management and c-level responsibility for a large employed medical group. Tiffany received her MSW at UCLA. She is a licensed social worker, ACM, and CMAC certified.

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