Research Shows CMS Program Helps Seniors Transition to Home Care

In CMS’ effort to help nursing home residents move back into their homes and communities, 38% of successful transitions made from July 1 to Dec. 21, 2011 were patients over age 65, according to a Mathematica Policy Research progress report on the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. 

The program was first implemented in 2008 and allows states to choose nursing home audiences they wish to target in their programs. The MFP program further reached out to seniors after the Administration on Aging helped award 25 programs with additional funding in 2010, bringing the total amount of funding to $4 billion, according to Mathematica. 

Texas, Washington and Ohio lead the program in highest number of transitions with the three states accounting for 40% of all new transitions since the program’s start, the report found. Texas’ elders accounted for 34% of all new transitions from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2011. 

Although, according to the progress the report, the program saw a 65% increase in the cumulative number of transitions from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2011, the program first had to decrease the cumulative transition goal for the majority of states in the first two years of implementation due to the challenges of implementing a new program.

“The reports we have published so far have shown nearly 20,000 transitions,” said Carol Irvin, the report’s project director. “They also address how challenging is has been for some states to get this up and going. You need the right kind of people who know how to handle transition coordination and you need good knowledge of community resources and what they can support.” 

An initial goal of 37,731 transitions over a five-year period that was established at the bill’s initial awarding of state grants dropped to 23,353 in Feb. 2010, according to the 2009 annual report

“It’s fairly common for a demonstration like this to have initial optimistic goals,” said Irvin. “The goal lowering reflected reality and they are doing a better job at meeting those realistic goals.”

After the program’s goal adjustments, MFP most recently saw a 23% increase in annual transitions at the end of 2011, according to the progress report, and a cumulative 19,728 transitions from nursing facility to home or community care have been made. The program could also expand to serve 47 grantees by the end of 2013. 

Additionally, eight out of 10 patients are satisfied with their living conditions after making the transition, compared to six out of 10 who are satisfied before the transition, and 25 states reported advanced in securing housing for participants, according to the June 2012 progress report. 

The next annual report is currently in progress, according to Irvin. 

View the most recent progress report here

Written by Erin Hegarty

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