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States Receive $12.7 Billion for Alternatives to Long-Term Care Homes

WEDNESDAY, March 24, 2021 -- As part of its COVID-19 relief law, the U.S. government will give states about $12.7 billion in Medicaid funding for home- and community-based care alternatives to long-term care homes.

This is the first new federal money for home- and community-based care services since the Affordable Care Act more than 10 years ago, according to MaryBeth Musumeci of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "I expect that this is going to be [the] first step toward additional focus on strengthening Medicaid home- and community-based services and figuring out how to help states to serve more people in the community," Musumeci, an expert on Medicaid and the disabled, told the Associated Press.

However, the money will only be available over four calendar quarters this year and next. That has some concerned that the funding will have only a temporary impact, and they would like permanent legislation.

"What we really want is that when our loved ones need support, we are going to be able [to] reach out and get that support without another battle," Maura Sullivan of Lexington, Massachusetts, who has two sons with autism and is an advocate for the disabled, told the AP.

"Clearly COVID demonstrated that living in an institution puts you at higher risk for infection and deaths," Martha Roherty, executive director of Advancing States, which represents state agencies on aging and disability, told the AP. "If we want seniors and people with disabilities to have a higher quality of life, that is not going to be in a nursing facility."

Associated Press Article

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