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Policy Note: Important Changes to Money Follows the Person (MFP)

April 19, 2021
Vicki Gottlich, Director, Center for Policy and Evaluation

Money Follows the Person (MFP) was recently extended for three years by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The legislation also made two important changes that affect ACL’s networks and the people they serve.

Since it was first authorized in 2005, the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program has helped states expand community living opportunities for people with disabilities and older adults. The program provides enhanced federal funding for services to help transition individuals who wish to leave a nursing home or other institution and move to the community. MFP is an optional program; 33 states currently participate.

MFP has helped more than 100,000 people move out of institutions and into the community. In addition to helping participants live where they want to live, improving quality of life and preventing re-institutionalization, the program saves significant money for Medicaid programs. During the last year, MFP has become more important than ever. With residents of institutions at particularly high risk of dying from COVID-19, helping people who wish to transition to safer settings in the community has become imperative.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 extended funding for the MFP program through 2023. It also made two changes to expand participant eligibility that are expected to increase the number of transitions into the community:

  • First, the CAA of 2021 reduced the minimum length of time in an inpatient facility before an individual can qualify for MFP from 90 days to 60 days; 
  • Second, the days a person receives skilled nursing services or skilled rehabilitative services in a certified skilled nursing facility now can be counted toward the length-of-stay requirement.

These changes took effect January 26, 2021, and states with MFP programs can implement them retroactively. This means that states may offer the opportunity to transition back to the community earlier in an eligible individual’s stay. States also may be able to claim MFP funding for transitions that have occurred since January 26 (if those transitions fully met all of the MFP requirements).

These changes are particularly important to the disability and aging networks because of the unique role the networks play. In addition to supporting people in moving from institutions to the community, many organizations in the networks play a key role in assisting states in implementing and capitalizing on new flexibilities in Medicaid to expand home- and community-based services. They also assist states in locating accessible, affordable housing for people transferring from institutional to community settings.

CMS’ MFP webpage is a great resource for organizations in the aging and disability networks who want to get engaged with helping their state adopt these expanded eligibility criteria – or establish an MFP program. And, as always, watch for ACL Updates – we’ll continue to share information as it becomes available!

Last modified on 06/21/2023

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