HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson urged states to develop more Medicaid-eligible, community-based programs for disabled people as a way to reduce nursing home costs. "Nearly 20% of nursing home expenditures are made on behalf of individuals who have a disability and are under 65 years of age," Thompson said in a letter to the nation's governors yesterday. "We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to serve people who meet nursing facility levels of care in their own homes or other community residential settings without increasing costs." Some states already have community-based options for the disabled, including models that allow payment to "follow" a beneficiary from institutional to community settings. A new HHS Medicaid waiver template called "Independence Plus" is meant to foster state development of consumer-directed services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also is creating an online archive of promising practices in home- and community-based services. Click here for the archive. -- by Susanna Duff
States urged to offer alternative care for disabled
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