Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Long-Term Services and Supports and the Affordable Care Act

Authored by Morgan Gable, HCBS & Health Legislative Representative, LeadingAge

As you may have heard, there are various proposals that were passed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are under attack (either through repeal or de-funding efforts) that would strengthen our nation’s long-term services and supports system.  Members of Congress should continue with funding and implementation efforts for these much-needed changes.  Many of these initiatives won’t take effect for a while, or are in their early stages, but some are already on the move!

One of the most promising provisions relating to home and community-based services that is underway is the “State Demonstrations to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Individuals.”  The Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that 15 states will receive $1 million to better integrate care for individuals who rely on both Medicare and Medicaid.

Another exciting initiative is the Community First Choice option that is slated to begin in October 2011.  This is an important opportunity for states because it includes a 6% increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for providing community-based attendant services and supports for eligible Medicaid recipients.

Another opportunity that is currently available is the Community-Based Care Transitions program. CMS is currently taking applications for this program that will assist hospitals with high readmission rates by encouraging them to partner with community-based organizations in order to better transition from the hospital back into the community.

All of these programs, created by the passage of the ACA, provide tremendous opportunities for states to better improve the quality of care for individuals on Medicare and Medicaid, and to save money by streamlining the provision of higher quality services to older adults across the country.

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