May 30, 2014

State of Alabama
Press Release: Medicaid

Gateway to Community Living expands resources for elderly, disabled

For elderly and disabled individuals, the dream of living in one’s own home is often replaced by the realities of disability, disease or age. It’s also a fact that once a person moves to an institution, returning to the community can be an overwhelming and challenging task.

Today, Alabama Medicaid recipients can call on the resources of the Gateway to Community Living initiative to help them determine if they can live safely in the community and if so, locate housing, arrange for necessary services and make the move.

“To successfully transition back into the community from a nursing home or other institution, a specialized – but temporary – array of services are needed,” said Ginger Wettingfeld, project manager. “The Gateway to Community Living initiative is designed to support those recipients by providing a dedicated Transition Coordinator or Case Manager who can help plan the move, find affordable and accessible housing, purchase basic home-making supplies or perform other related tasks. The program is also set up to assist with one-time transition costs such as rental and utility deposits.”

A handful of recipients have moved to the community since the program’s operating plan was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in July 2013. Wettingfeld hopes others will take advantage of the resources currently available to explore their options and make an informed decision.

“As the population ages, the demand for all long-term care services is expected to increase in the future,” she said. “Many people prefer to get these services in their own homes, and because home and community-based services can be the most cost effective alternative, the result is positive for all involved.” 

Most participants are expected to transition to one of Medicaid’s seven HCBS waiver programs which currently serve more than 15,000 Alabama Medicaid recipients. Federal 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.

Wettingfeld notes that there are several ways to make a referral to the program and individuals can ask a family member, friend, legal guardian, or an advocate to assist them with making the referral.

“Alabama’s nursing homes are federally required to make a referral if an individual indicates a desire to return to community living,” she said.  “In addition, individuals who are interested can self-refer using the online referral system or by submitting a referral by email, fax or regular mail.

Additional information, a copy of the referral form and other details are available online at or at

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