Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health recently learned the state will receive up to $30.9 million to increase home and community-based services for people with disabilities or who have long-term care needs. The Money Follows the Person grant is from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The grant is intended to help states such as Louisiana reduce reliance on institutional care while developing community-based long-term care opportunities.  This gives people greater choices for care, including home and community-based services.

The grant allows Louisiana to receive up to $524,000 in the first year for start-up and administrative costs, and a total of $30.9 million over the five-year life of the grant.  The Money Follows the Person “rebalancing” initiative was created in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and aims to shift Medicaid from its historical emphasis on institutional long-term care services to a system that offers more choices for seniors and people with disabilities.

“This program will help individuals who need long-term care but prefer to live in their own homes and communities,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “People with disabilities will now have unprecedented opportunities to choose what type of long-term care they receive under the Medicaid program.”

The key components of the grant are outlined below:

• Eliminate barriers or mechanisms that prevent Medicaid-eligible individuals from receiving support for appropriate and necessary long-term services in the settings of their choices;
• Increase the ability of Louisiana’s Medicaid program to assure continued provision of home and community-based long-term care services to eligible individuals who choose to move from an institutional to a community setting;
• Ensure that procedures are in place to provide quality assurance for individuals receiving Medicaid home and community-based long-term care services, and to provide for continuous quality improvement in such services.

The federal government will pay for 75 to 90 percent of the costs of transitioning individuals out of these facilities and into community settings, as well as the associated long-term care benefit costs.  This will be done through a 50 percent higher-than-usual Medicaid match rate for qualified expenditures.

This Money Follows the Person initiative is a component of the New Freedom Initiative, a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people of all ages with disabilities or chronic illnesses.  Additional information about the New Freedom Initiative, of which this demonstration is part, is available at the CMS Web site at