August 7, 2013

State of Alabama
Press Release: Medicaid

Stakeholders meet to map out strategies to move MFP project forward

Armed with a new federally-approved operating protocol for the state’s Money Follows the Person initiative, members of the Long Term Care Rebalancing Advisory Committee met July 16 to begin mapping out strategies to support the successful transition of up to 625 individuals over five years from an institutional setting to community living.

The first step will be the formation of sub-committees to address key issues, including outreach, housing and employment for participants who enroll in the program, according to MFP Project Director Ginger Wettingfeld. Committee work is expected to start in August. The Agency will also pursue development of a second Alabama Community Transition (ACT) waiver to enable Medicaid recipients with developmental disabilities or a mental illness-related diagnosis to have the opportunity to move to the community as well. A timetable has not been established for this project.

“One of the greatest challenges for these recipients is finding safe, affordable and accessible housing,” she said. “In some cases, potential recipients could return to a family member’s home, but for many, that is simply not feasible. With help from our stakeholders, we hope that communities throughout the state will respond by increasing the inventory of housing that meets the needs of those recipients so they can move safely to the community.”

Alabama is now one of 44 states with MFP initiatives, according to Wettingfeld. Alabama is eligible to receive up to $28 million in federal funds through 2016 in the form of an enhanced (84 percent federal/16 percent state) matching rate for MFP-related services and 100 percent funding for administrative costs. Grant funds will cover the upfront costs associated with transitioning each individual as well as administrative costs of operating the program and will be paid during the first year of each person’s transition.

The majority of the expenditures will go to provide Home and Community-Based Services for Medicaid-eligible individuals who are elderly or have disabilities and who choose to transition from nursing facilities or a state-operated psychiatric hospital (only applies to recipients under 21 or over 65 for this type of facility). Most are expected to transition to one of Medicaid’s seven HCBS waiver programs or to a PACE program.

“Now that the federal government has approved our operational protocol, we are now ready to move forward toward our goal of providing greater choice to our recipients while maximizing Medicaid’s limited funds,” she said.

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