The Money Follows the Person Initiative allows many Americans to receive long-term care service and support in their own home rather than in institutions such as nursing homes and care facilities. This federal initiative helps states reduce their reliance on institutional care and expand options for those needing care in the community. This allows those living with disabilities to move back home or into a community based setting where they can live more comfortably. This also saves Medicaid tens of millions of dollars each year since they pay two-thirds of nursing home bills in the United States which are about $75,000 per patient each year versus the in-home care which averages $18,000 a year.
29 states, including Georgia, are participating in this program. While there was early success, there was also an overall slow start. Of the 1,312 people Georgia was hoping to move from nursing homes in 2011, only 221 were actually moved. All states combined are hoping to move over 37,000 residents out of various facilities by 2012. So far only a total of 5,774 have been moved throughout the nation. The slow growth comes from resistance of nursing homes, strict federal rules and problems finding affordable housing.
The new healthcare law isn’t as strict about the eligibility rules and will extend the program into 2016. $900 million in funds were also added to the initiative. Even with this many people have been discouraged by the slow start. Advocates for the poor and disabled say that this highlights the state’s lack of investment to help people move out on their own.