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Monday, March 19, 2018

The EMPOWER Act and Money Follows the Person

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance and  Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) are particularly important.

A 3/15 release from Rep. Brett Guthrie:
Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) today introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources (EMPOWER) and Care Act (H.R. 5306) to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries can receive the best long-term care possible in their communities or in their own homes.
The federal Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program was first authorized in 2005 and allows certain Medicaid beneficiaries, mainly those with disabilities, to receive long-term care services in their own homes. The program provides a way for elderly and disabled patients to move from institutional care to home or community-based services. The Kentucky Transitions program has been able to help hundreds of Kentuckians make this transition. 
From Rep. Dingell:
At the end of 2015, 43 states and the District of Columbia were participating in the MFP demonstration. As part of an evaluation provided to Congress in a 2017 report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded there is strong evidence beneficiaries’ quality of life improves when they transition from institutional to community-based long-term care system. The report also found that on average, monthly expenditures for beneficiaries participating in the demonstration program declined by 23 percent during the first year, saving Medicare and Medicaid $978 million.
Dingell and Guthrie’s legislation to continue and improve the program is supported by a large coalition of aging and disability organizations.
“Autism Speaks recognizes the critical importance of Medicaid-funded Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to individuals with autism and their families,” said Angela Geiger, President and CEO Autism Speaks. “Reauthorizing the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program would benefit individuals across the country who are waiting for HCBS. We strongly support the EMPOWER Care Act and urge Congress to pass this important piece of legislation.”
For more information on the EMPOWER Care Act, please click here.