New Hampshire First To Get New Health Care Law Funds To Help Seniors And People With Disabilities Live In Their Communities

New Hampshire will be the first State in the country to receive new Medicaid grant dollars— $26.5 million over three years— provided by the Affordable Care Act to keep people out of institutions and living productive lives in their communities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today.

“Thanks to health reform, more seniors and people with disabilities will be able to continue to live in their homes and communities, rather than a nursing home,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator.” We hope other States will follow New Hampshire’s lead in seeking this new grant money to expand community services and supports.”

A total of $3 billion is available to States under the Affordable Care Act’s Balancing Incentive Program.

While Federal Medicaid law requires States to pay for institutional care for the elderly or persons with disabilities who may need assistance with activities of daily life, home or community-based long-term supports are optional. All States, however, operate home or community-based optional programs in Medicaid but demand frequently exceeds the State’s available resources.

The new grant program is part of an ongoing effort by CMS and States to expand home and community-based services and supports.

The Administration strongly supports a shift from institutional care to community services and supports for those with long-term needs. While most Medicaid dollars for long-term services and supports still go to institutions, the national percentage of Medicaid spending on home and community based services has more than doubled from 20 percent in 1995 to 43 percent in 2009.

“No one should have to live in an institution or nursing home if they can live in their homes and communities with the right mix of affordable supports,” said Cindy Mann, director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “These new grants will help States like New Hampshire give people with long-term care needs the choice about how and where to live their lives.”

States are eligible for these grants, in the form of higher Medicaid matching payments, if they currently spend less than 50 percent of their total long-term care costs on community-based options. The enhanced Medicaid payments must be spent increasing the availability of long-term community-based services and supports. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Balancing Incentive Program, in partnership with community organizations throughout the State, plans to further develop the systems of community-based care that serve seniors and individuals with behavioral health needs, physical disabilities, and intellectual disabilities.

New Hampshire’s grant funds will run from April 1, 2012 through September 30, 2015.