HHS touts $2.25 billion to help disabled live at home

The Obama administration on Monday announced $2.25 billion in federal grants designed to help severely disabled Americans move from hospitals and nursing facilities to their own homes.

The funding — included in the Democrats’ new healthcare reform law — will enhance Medicaid’s five-year-old “money-follows-the-person” (MFP) demonstration, which helps states shift patients with chronic illnesses from institutional facilities to community-based settings. The program is intended to save Medicaid money while also lending greater independence to the disabled.

Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have adopted MFP programs, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new reform law encourages states not already enrolled to apply for grants, while allowing current participants to expand their programs.   

The law provides $450 million for each of the five years, beginning with 2012, for a total of $2.25 billion.

On Aug. 11, CMS will host a call for interested applicants.

The announcement arrives on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which extended certain anti-discrimination protections contained in civil rights laws to folks with disabilities.