Colorado announces $22 million federal grant to improve options to expensive nursing facilities.
By Tim Wheat
The “Money Follows the Person” grant will help Colorado improve the state’s ability to provide home and community based care as an alternative to undesirable institutional placement and help move people out of expensive nursing homes into their own home. Colorado CO-ACTS program was awarded the grant by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and their goal is to transition approximately 500 people or more back to the community over the next five years.
CPWD has worked with the state to develop a strong grant and we applaud the state’s efforts. Our perspective has always been to end the institutional bias in the federal Medicaid program so that people with disabilities can be a part of the community and live in our own homes. We support the goal of CO-ACTS to transform long-term care services and support from institutionally-based and provider-driven care, to person-centered and community-based care.
“CO-ACTS is the solution for giving clients needing long-term care services independence, choice and dignity,” states Sue Birch, executive director. “In order to support our clients in receiving the care they need in the setting they deserve, we will build upon our existing community-based services and, at the same time, save the state money.”
The federal and state funded program is a demonstration project to prove the financial viability and structure will work in Colorado. The ultimate goal that CPWD hopes for the program is that no person with a disability would have to leave their home and community to get services and that those services become the default over expensive institutional facilities. Currently, federal Medicaid must fund institutional options, like nursing homes, while preferable alternatives are only optional Medicaid services that may be limited or not even offered.
“CO-ACTS is a multi-agency effort. We have been working with the Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Health and Environment, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Local Affairs,” said Tim Cortez, the project director; “to ensure that we have the appropriate community-based long term care services and supports in place along with housing and transportation. All of these state agencies are working together to make certain that we have a strong safety-net for those individuals returning to the community.”