Approximately a decade ago, the Federal government implemented and funded a program called “Money Follows the Person.” This program was designed to allow persons with disabilities to leave nursing homes or other institutions in favor of home care. Over the life of the program, states received over $3.7 billion in funding to help more than 88,000 people move to their own or group homes and still receive the assistance they needed, albeit at a lesser amount than full-time institutional care. In September 2016, however, this program expired and individual state programs have largely all run out of funding.
Fortunately, a health subcommittee in the House of Representatives advanced legislation last week that would reauthorize the program for one year, with $450 Million in funding. The subcommittee vote Friday approving legislation known as the EMPOWER Care Act, H.R. 5306, was a step toward a full vote on the House floor to renew the program. The House Energy and Commerce Committee must still review the bill prior to sending it on for a full House vote. Elder law and disability attorneys are hopeful this program will be reinstated to provide our elderly and disabled persons with additional options for care.