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Department of Human Services Receives $91 Million Federal Grant to Continue Serving More Pennsylvanians in the Community

04/05/2016

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas announced today that the department has received a $91 million “Money Follows the Person” (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration grant. This funding comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and will work to transition older Pennsylvanians and those with a disability from an institutional setting back into the community. The grant, which runs through 2020, includes an additional $7.3 million reimbursement grant to create new initiatives to aid in the department’s priority of serving more people in the community.   

“Ninety-five percent of Pennsylvanians who need these services want to live in their community, not in an institution or a nursing home. But right now, we can only serve 51 percent of them in the community,” said Secretary Dallas. “Governor Wolf and I are committed to promoting independence and giving all people, regardless of their age or disability, a voice in choosing where they live. This grant will go a long way to fulfilling our vision of serving more Pennsylvanians in their communities.”

The federal MFP initiative was created because of a historical bias in Medicaid towards serving people in an institutional setting instead of a person’s home. The program provides states with the financial flexibility to allow the needed services to “follow the person” into the community.

The transition benefits not only the individual but also the state: it is less costly to serve Pennsylvanians in their homes than in an institutional setting. For example, a person receiving services in a nursing home costs on average $65,000 per year compared to an average of $31,000 per year to serve a person in the community.

Pennsylvania has participated in MFP since 2008, transitioning 2,333 people from institutional settings to where they want to live -- their communities. DHS plans to transition another 1,172 individuals through the end of 2018. 

The goals of the MFP program include:

  • Increase the use of home- and community-based services (HCBS) and reduce the use of institutionally-based services;
  • Eliminate barriers that restrict the use of Medicaid funds to let people receive long-term care in the settings of their choice;
  • Strengthen the ability of Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to people who choose to transition out of institutions; and
  • Put procedures in place to provide quality assurance and improvement of HCBS.

DHS will use these funds to improve housing services, educate the public on the state’s upcoming Community HealthChoices managed long-term services and supports rollout, support individuals with dual diagnoses such as mental illness and intellectual disabilities; and increase awareness of home- and community-based services available in the commonwealth.

“This federal Money Follows the Person initiative falls directly in line with what we’re trying to achieve in Pennsylvania,” Secretary Dallas said. “It empowers states and individuals to shift our Medicaid long-term spending from institutional settings to community living, serving people where they want to be and saving taxpayer dollars at the same time.”  

For more information, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Diana Fishlock - 717-425-7606

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