CMS to give $110M to boost participation in Medicaid's 'Money Follows the Person' program

The Biden administration will distribute more than $110 million to help expand home and community-based services in Medicaid via the "Money Follows the Person" program that aims to boost home-based care for Medicaid beneficiaries. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Thursday that the funding will open the door for more than 20 states and territories not participating in the program.

“Our healthcare system works best when it meets us where we are and helps us get to where we want to be,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement Thursday. “With this new funding opportunity, we’re expanding a program with a proven track record of helping seniors and people with disabilities transition safely from institutional care to their own homes and communities.”

Money Follows the Person was approved back in 2005 and aims to reduce the use of institutional-based services and transition beneficiaries to more home and community-based services. 

The additional funding aims to help states and territories get a new program off the ground, including recruiting home-care providers and experts for transition coordination and how to establish system assessments to understand how home-care services can support residents, according to a release on the funding. 

Any state Medicaid agency that isn’t participating in the program has until May 31 to apply for the new funding.

States that are already participating in the program will get an increased reimbursement rate for any supplemental services to be 100% federally funded with no requirement for a state match. 

CMS also is expanding the definition of a supplemental service to include short-term housing and food assistance. 

The funding comes as the Biden administration has moved to increase access to home-based services, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic that caused an explosion in telehealth use. 

The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act had included $150 billion in funding to overhaul home care, but the legislation stalled last year due to insufficient Democratic support in the Senate. 

CMS has also made moves to boost home-based services in Medicare and Medicaid. The agency issued a dialysis payment rule last year that aimed to decrease health disparities in access to home dialysis services.