Washington Health Policy Week in Review
Health Care Law Alternatives to Nursing Home Care Announced

By John Reichard, CQ HealthBeat Editor

April 26, 2012 -- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a final rule last week to allow frail and disabled Medicaid enrollees to more easily receive services outside of nursing homes.

The agency also announced participants in its "Independence at Home" demonstration program in which health care teams make regular visits to the homes of the chronically ill to monitor their conditions and give them preventive care that helps keep them out of nursing homes. Both programs are part of the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).

The final rule sets out in Medicaid a "Community First Choice Option." Participating states get a 6 percentage-point increase in federal Medicaid matching funds to provide community-based services to beneficiaries who otherwise would be confined to nursing homes.

In a White House blog post, Henry Claypool, a disability adviser to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, said that 16 organizations were picked to take part in the Independence at Home program. He also noted that the administration recently created the "Administration for Community Living" at HHS that brings together various offices in the department involved in providing community services to the disabled.

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