For Immediate Release - March 25, 2014

Patrick Administration Announces $110 Million Federal Grant Award to Increase Community First Options for Seniors and People with Disabilities

BOSTON — The Patrick Administration today announced a $110.6 million grant award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help the Office Health and Human Services (HHS) expand and enhance the Commonwealth’s community-based long term services and support system for elders and individuals with disabilities.

“This funding is an affirmation of our commitment to making community-based services a reality for our most vulnerable residents,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I thank the Obama Administration for their partnership in providing our seniors and individuals with disabilities the support they need to live comfortably.”

This grant award comes from CMS’s Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), a part of the Affordable Care Act, which provides enhanced federal funds to states who enrich their long-term care system. States participating in BIP are required to spend at least 50 percent of their federal funding on non-institutional community-based, Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) by September 2015.

“Our Community First strategy is about reducing reliance on institutional placement and building a strong system of services and supports in the community,” said HHS Secretary John Polanowicz. “This funding will mean more accessibility and opportunity for more people choosing community living settings in Massachusetts.”

The use of the funding will be determined over the next several months through a stakeholder’s engagement process and negotiations with CMS.

“Massachusetts’ Office of Elder Affairs does extraordinary, groundbreaking work providing long-term care to seniors,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I’m very pleased CMS has recognized their critical work and awarded this funding to help strengthen the Commonwealth’s long-term care system.”

The grant funds will also be used to strengthen the Administration’s coordinated “No Wrong Door” system, so consumers may easily learn about and access Long Term Services and Supports.

“Long-term medical care is a major decision for seniors, for those with disabilities and for their families,” said U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas. “This funding will increase the opportunities and options available here in Massachusetts, while helping individuals and their families become more involved in choosing the most appropriate and comfortable setting for long-term care.”

The Governor’s FY’15 budget proposal also includes a $16.9 million expansion of the Commonwealth’s Home Care Program to allow all residents of Massachusetts to live in their preferred setting supported by services they need. In addition, the Governor proposed $1.3 million to expand the Supportive Housing Program from 31 to 41 sites, to allow public housing residents to age in place in an “assisted-living” environment. Over the last decade, Massachusetts has demonstrated a 62 percent increase in length of stay in Elder Affairs Community First programs, helping eliminate or delay long term facility placement for thousands of residents.

"As home to the district with the largest number of senior citizens in the state, this is very welcome news,” said U.S. Representative William Keating. “Seniors should be able to choose where they live, including staying in their home, without being restricted because of lack of services. This grant will allow them that freedom.”

The Community First/Olmstead Plan of 2007 established a road map that has been guiding the development of increased access to person-centered information and self-directed services for people in need of LTSS support. BIP provides another major opportunity toward full access for all populations in need of LTSS.

“As too many seniors and individuals with disabilities struggle to access quality health care, we must do everything we can to expand the reach of care to their homes and communities,” said U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy. “These funds will not only improve treatment services throughout our Commonwealth but also raise awareness about the health care options and opportunities available to seniors in our state. I applaud Governor Patrick and his administration on earning this award.”

“I look forward to working to provide innovative, new ways to help Massachusetts consumers who want to remain at home with high quality of services and supports,” said Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary Ann Hartstein. “We are particularly fortunate that we have exceptional, experienced community advocates and agencies that have contributed to making the Patrick Administration’s Community First commitment a reality.”

“We applaud the Administration for expanding its Community First effort, while at the same time, increasing federal matching funds to the state,” said Mass Home Care Executive Director Al Norman. “Elders want a chance to live out their days at home. BIP will provide more funding to honor that desire."

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