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Activists Celebrate Passage Of Federal "Money Follows The Person Act"

WASHINGTON, DC--Disability rights advocates are celebrating the recent passage of a bipartisan measure that will allow people currently housed in nursing homes and other institutions to take their Medicaid funding with them when they move into the community.

Under the "Money Follows the Person Act", 40 states will be chosen to participate in a five-year demonstration project which is expected to help thousands of people to live more independently. The legislation comes with $1.75 billion in federal funds, much of which will be used to help purchase community-based services during the first year the person lives in the community.

The initiative was first introduced three years ago in an effort to help states create a more even balance between institutional and community-based services under state-federal Medicaid program. Approximately two-thirds of Medicaid long-term care currently funding goes to nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities, while just one-third pays for community-based services.

The American Association of People with Disabilities and ADAPT are among the many groups that have lobbied for its passage and are now encouraging states to sign up for the project.

"Free, free at last! There is nothing to compare being locked up to being free" said ADAPT's James Templeton in a press release. "It's like being in jail, but in an institution you don't know if you will ever get out."

"I spent 30 years inside and then I didn't get better, I just got out. Now my life is my own."

A related bill, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act, or MiCASSA, would allow Medicaid recipients to choose community-based attendant services and supports over institutional services.

MiCASSA was introduced by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1997. While it has been reintroduced several times, MiCASSA has been opposed by the nursing home industry, and has not yet been brought for a full vote in Congress.

"Money Follows The Person" (ADAPT)

"Choices and Freedom Are Sweeter Than Candy!" (ADAPT)

"Advocates celebrate program for those with disabilities" (Austin American-Statesman)

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For those of us who would like to offer living places and help for those coming out of the nursing homes, could you give some me some addresses where I could contact someone about the requirements? Also I have a sister in a nursing home that I would love to live with me in my home but because she would lose all her money for drugs and etc. she can not leave the nursing home. Would this change of law allow her to move in with us and could we recieve reimbursment for her needs and any care she might require? Thank you for any information anyone can give.

Rose (above) writes,

"Could you give some me some addresses where I could contact someone about the requirements?"

You might try to contact an ADAPT member, or national ADAPT. A list of contacts for each state can be found at their website at http://www.adapt.org/contlist.htm -- you can also ask about specifics of the law. Good luck!

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