HHS announces $68 million in long-term-care grants

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday announced $68 million in grants to support community living for seniors and individuals with disabilities. The grants are funded through the healthcare reform law.

"The funds will be used to help seniors and individuals with disabilities and their caregivers make more informed decisions about their health and long-term care," according to HHS. "Specifically, the funds will be used to help families: understand their Medicare and Medicaid benefits, including coverage for preventive services; navigate options for long-term care including community-based services that can help individuals remain in their homes; and assist those transitioning from nursing or rehabilitation facilities back home to put the supports in place to make that transition successful."

The grants focus on four areas:

- Medicare outreach: 50 states and territories and 125 tribal organizations funded to provide outreach and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries on their benefits, including coverage for preventive services ($40 million). Additionally, $5 million goes to the National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment for technical assistance;

- Counseling grants: 20 states funded to strengthen programs of the Aging and Disability Resource Centers for community-based health and long-term care services ($10 million);

- Transition grants: 24 state Medicaid agencies helped to transition individuals from nursing homes to community-based care ($10 million);

- Home-care grants: 16 states funded to coordinate and continue to encourage evidence-based care transition models that help older persons or persons with disabilities remain in their own homes after a hospital, rehabilitation or skilled-nursing-facility stay ($3 million).